If your work staff has been dispersed to home offices and struggling to maintain productivity in that environment, you may be anxious to return to a regular office setting. You must remember, however, that germs thrive in closed environments where people are gathered together. That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines to help businesses return to work safely. From adding office partitions and wall dividers to temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations, your new office setup may look different than before. However, it will be a healthier and more productive space if you follow the tips below.
1. Office Partitions Reduce the Risk of Infection
The current CDC guidelines are designed to reduce the rate of disease transmission and slow the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces that resume normal operation. Many of the protocols are things you are already doing on a personal level during the pandemic. They include:
- Improve air circulation and filtration within existing buildings
- Increase the amount of outside air in enclosed spaces
- Regularly sanitize high-touch surfaces such as light switches and handles
- Provide sanitizing wipes and cleaners to employees
- Display signage with reminders about proper sanitation
- Conduct health checks and temperature screens of staff as they arrive
- Reconfigure open areas with office partitions to minimize direct contact or employees gathering within six feet of each other for prolonged periods
Instituting these controls in an office-wide effort can be more difficult. The current research into and understanding of the novel coronavirus shows that these measures work to reduce the risk of infection. For that reason, it is critical to implement them as your employees return to work.
2. Employees Have a Right To Be Safe
Labor laws are in place to help preserve the rights of workers. OSHA standards require employers to provide a safe workplace that is “free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm” (OSH Act Section 5(a)(1)). As such, it is your legal obligation to protect the health and safety of your employees and provide them a workplace that does not encourage the spread of infectious diseases. SARS-CoV-2 spreads easily between people, particularly when they are within proximity to each other for prolonged periods. Shared workspaces and open office plans facilitate its spread. Taking measures such as dividing open spaces with cubicles helps reduce exposure to respiratory droplets and improves safety for workers.
3. Healthy Employees Are More Productive
When your employees are healthy and comfortable, they will be more productive. Since asymptomatic individuals can spread COVID-19, temperature checks and screenings may not provide enough security. This may leave workers concerned and under undue strain during the workday. Glass wall dividers that allow communication and cooperation from a safe distance ease those concerns and allow work to continue smoothly. In addition, you will have a reduced rate of no shows due to illness so that workflows can keep in a normal fashion.
4. Cluster Outbreaks May Cause Another Shutdown
You have seen cluster outbreaks in many essential facilities that have remained open during state shutdowns. These can devastate communities and put an enormous strain on local healthcare facilities. Instituting safety policies to reduce infection means fewer cases in the workplace, which can help stop outbreaks before they get out of control.
5. Safety Measures Save Lives
The simple truth is that instituting the safety measures provided by the CDC and state reopening plans reduces transmission of germs, including the novel coronavirus, and saves lives. With shortages of personal protective equipment and sanitizing products in the general marketplace, employees are turning to you to provide this necessary service to keep them and their families safe.
You are obligated by labor laws to provide safe working conditions for your employees. The CDC guidelines are updated to reflect new threats to safety brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Preventative measures such as installing office partitions, providing sanitizer and other PPE, and performing health screenings can help your employees return to work safely and establish a new normal for your company to move forward.
At ROSI Office Systems, we have been providing businesses an excellent selection of new, used, and reconditioned cubicles and dividers for nearly 30 years. Contact us at (713) 766-5722 to find out how we can help you meet the current CDC guidelines and get your office staff back to work.
5 Reasons Why You Should Reopen Safely following CDC Guidelines and How Office Partitions Can Help | ROSI Office Systems Inc. – Houston, TX