The last thing anybody wants right now is to catch the coronavirus. Here are some COVID-19 tips for employees to help keep themselves safe at the office.
By this point in the pandemic, we’re going to assume you’ve gotten very familiar with the basics. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your mouth and face. And maintain sound social distancing practices, with at least 6 feet between you and the nearest person.
Those same basics apply to the office. But the workplace has a unique dynamic of human interaction and sometimes doing the basics requires being aware of different things than you would be at home.
The biggest one is to avoid the handshake. We’ve gotten to the point in our culture where it’s instinctive to offer your hand to a business associate. That’s something that will likely change in the future and for the short-term, nobody’s going to be offended if you don’t shake their hand (in fact, they’re more likely to be offended if you do offer the hand, given the pandemic).
It’s also important to be aware of how close you get to your coworkers. This ties into another point: you might need to lower expectations of how much you can get done in any given workday.
High achievers tend to be on the move, in a hurry and very focused on moving from task to task. For the most part, that’s a great thing for the business. But it also means they can be moving through the office at a quickened pace, not aware of how close they’re getting to someone else.
It can also mean they don’t want to slow down and take the appropriate time to regularly apply sanitizer to their keyboard, their desk and other areas that they regularly touch. It’s these things that make the difference between a safe working environment and one that becomes a petri dish of viruses.
Finally, if you’re an employee who is currently quarantined at home, make sure you’re taking full advantage of the opportunity. Not the opportunity to work while partially dressed or to binge-watch Netflix during business hours. Use the opportunity to show your boss you can be trusted to work from home.
Be proactive and keep in touch with your direct supervisor. Do what you can and make suggestions for how you might be more productive in a limited environment. This makes it more likely than when your office reopens, you might be able to avoid the virus-haven at the office and work more frequently from home.
Remember, your employer will have their own set of headaches trying to figure out how to integrate everyone back into the workflow while still maintaining their legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment. They might be more than happy to have you stay at home, so long as they’re confident the job will get done. Seize the moment to build that confidence.