How To Create Healthier Offices for Employees Amidst COVID-19
As vaccination rates increase across the country, businesses are preparing to return their teams to the office. In many fields, working together in the same space can produce powerful benefits, including encouraging collaboration and innovation. Recent surveys, however, suggest major hesitancy among American employees. One survey found only 22% of workers feel positive about returning to the workplace. This anxiety is understandable, as the pandemic dramatically exposed the health vulnerabilities of shared spaces like the office. Often, these spaces have not been designed with the prevention of contagious diseases in mind. The danger of pandemics like COVID-19, however, offers companies a precious opportunity to reevaluate ways to create healthier spaces. Here, we examine key factors that can help businesses assure employees that their well-being comes first.
Refocus on air quality:
Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, air quality remained a consistent concern in American office buildings. Medical experts even coined the phrase “Sick Building Syndrome” to describe the cluster of symptoms and conditions either directly caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality. Improving circulation and ventilation systems are key to fixing this issue. Where a major overhaul is not possible, the CDC recommends mitigation strategies that can have a major impact. Adjustments could include turning off any demand-controlled ventilation so fans can operate continuously, or adding portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems to enhance air cleaning. For optimum air circulation, changing out the filters in your air conditioning system regularly is key.
Employ science-based cleaning:
Cleaning is always essential for creating safe, sanitary work spaces. But as COVID-19 demonstrated, not all types of cleaning are effective. Faced with new health threats, cleaning and maintenance protocols must adapt their prevention methods based on the newest scientific research available. In response to COVID-19, SparkleTeam adapted our services based on the best science available, incorporating products from Environmental Protection Agency’s List N, which have been proven effective against COVID-19.
It will take a long time for the workplace to return to normal, as businesses experiment with different work structures to accommodate their employees. With this in mind, facilities need to adapt based on how businesses will need to navigate their spaces. This could include office reconfigurations that prioritize socially distanced work stations over gathering areas. Facilities should also support personal hygiene by installing more hand sanitizer dispensers around the building for easy access.