The commute has certainly been quick. Traffic is light. And sweatpants as the new business casual hasn’t been terrible. Even with those perks, I think most of us can agree: we want all this to end. It looks like we are about to get our wish.
We never thought we would be asking, “What phase are we in?” or “When will we hit phase 3?”, but here we are. Opening back up needs to be done as safely as possible. Employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients. The CDC has an excellent set of guidelines to help you through it.
Here are the top 3 highlights for you:
CHANGE THE WAY YOU WORK
Employers are going to have to be a lot more flexible when it comes to their employees right now. They have proven they can be productive from home, so staggering how many employees are in the office at any given time should be easy to do now. Flexibility when it comes to sick days will be important, too. The obvious thing is if your employees have any symptoms, they should feel comfortable enough to call in sick. Letting them know there will be no repercussions from calling out – and then backing it up with your actions – is important. A little less obvious is allowing them to use sick days to care for a sick family member, especially if the family member has been diagnosed with Covid-19. If that should happen, make sure they are comfortable telling you the diagnosis and ensure them you will keep it private. That employee should stay home an appropriate amount of time to make sure they don’t develop any symptoms, but you need to know so you can have a professional disinfectant treatment done in all the common areas of the office to contain the virus as much as possible.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Prolonged closure and non-occupancy can create a haven for mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses. The CDC recommends flushing out your HVAC unit to free it of any mold and mildew that could have built up. Bringing in a professional HVAC cleaning company is a good idea. Stagnant or standing water in a plumbing system can increase the risk for growth and spread of biofilm-associated bacteria (like Legionnaires’ disease). Have a professional plumber come in and assess your water supply including whether it is set to the correct temperature and make sure your water system gets successfully flushed. When it comes to your surfaces and high-touch areas, just cleaning isn’t enough. A professional disinfectant service is the only way to get your building started off on a clean slate. Adding that service to your routine cleaning schedule can keep your employees feeling confident and safe in their workplace.
MAKE SURE THE BUILDING IS READY
Besides the cleaning and disinfecting, be sure your building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems have been reviewed for new construction start-up guidance. They have been either working less or not at all for a while, so start them up like they are new while still cleaning them out like they are old. If you are in a building with other companies, be sure the common areas like restrooms, stairwells, and elevators are being disinfected daily with a professional disinfectant service but also cleaned several times throughout the day. Also, voice your concerns to the owner that the other occupants need to be taking social distancing and the CDC’s recommendations as seriously as you are. Everyone in your building should be doing everything they can to keep people safe while still opening back up.
The common theme here? It seems to be disinfecting. Disinfect before you open. Disinfect routinely after opening. Make sure the building owner is doing the same. Western Pest Services would like to add a few things to that. Make sure you’re using a company that is using a product included on the EPA’s “List N” of products that meet their criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19. And don’t settle for a quick mist of a product. Wiping down high-touch areas using a strong and effective yet safe and gentle product at full strength will be the most effective strategy. That will give you and your employees the confidence to come back to work.
Call Western Pest Services about their Western PurClean™ disinfectant treatment – because it checks all of those boxes and more. And may we also suggest adding another water cooler 6-feet away from the one that is already there? Your employees still want to talk about Tiger King.