There is a lot of insecurity going around regarding America’s return to the workforce. From a health and safety standpoint, we’re being asked to flatten the curve, which means strict social distancing measures and avoiding public spaces. While it’s very clear that the economy cannot withstand extended quarantine measures, we’re also keeping our eyes peeled for a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. It’s a tough decision to make for anyone, let alone the government and health officials that we trust to keep us safe.
Perhaps the biggest question each employee has as they are asked to return to the office is: how can I stay safe at work? Beyond the tried and true mask, handwashing, and sanitizing routine, we have a few tips and tricks to help you ease back into your first weeks back at work.
Ask your superior or HR department if you can ease back into working in the office by working alternate days from home. This way you can get a feel for how the office is being maintained a few days a week. Always try to keep your focus on your job security, especially during these times of high unemployment. You want to feel as safe as possible at your job, all while not compromising your individual ability to provide for yourself. If you can, have these conversations with your boss or HR manager.
If you feel that your employer is not doing enough to keep everyone safe and healthy at the office, stand up and say something. Get together with some of your co-workers to discuss potential solutions, and present them to your superiors. Be honest and open so that your concerns will be respected – these are difficult times, but if anything positive has come of this pandemic, it’s our enhanced desire to keep those around us safe and protected from illness.
Report Apparent Illness
If you or a co-worker is feeling slightly ill, notify your boss immediately (even if you don’t suspect Coronavirus). As we’ve discovered with C-19, a sick individual can be contagious prior to showing symptoms. If someone in the office becomes ill, ask the HR department to inquire into where that person might have been exposed. Building a safe office space will require that each and every one of us take precautions to protect ourselves and others – the consequences that result from our potential indifference could be drastic.
It’s irrefutable that these are interesting times to be alive and in the American workforce. The best we can do for each other is to be respectful of personal limitations and tolerances; speak with someone before approaching within six feet or removing your mask. Offer hand sanitizer to others and try to initiate virtual contact in the office, even if their desk is 10 feet away. As you learn what others are willing to do, you can interact more or less with them. Put others first, and you will inadvertently be contributing to a safer work environment!