Life After Lockdown: Tips On Office Cleanliness
Many argue that the curve has yet to be flattened in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, the country is well on its way to breaking the 20,000 barrier. Yet, with the economy badly in need of a boost, people have begun to make their way back to their respective office buildings and business districts. It's a precarious balancing act between needing to provide and needing to stay safe. And so, with this in mind, we've come up with a few safety tips and tricks to ensure your health during these trying times.
Avoid eating together
We know you miss your work friends and colleagues, but now is hardly the time for a lunch-time catch-up. As much as possible, maintain social distancing during meals and snacks. This means avoid the pantry. Opt to eat at your desk, facing the wall or your computer. Conversely, avoid sitting too close to anyone eating. Be clean when you eat and be conscious of throwing your trash away properly (in the correct designated bins).
Clean the soles of your shoes
Buy a foot bath or encourage your supervisors to invest in it, and make its use mandatory for employees. It's particularly useful especially when people choose to leave the office for any reason. If this isn't possible, you can create your own spray. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using 70% alcohol or a bleach solution made of 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. (Note that bleach solutions are good for only 24 hours.)
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The CDC differentiates cleaning and disinfecting as such: cleaning reduces the number of dirt, germs, and impurities on a surface while disinfecting is killing off germs (on said surface). They recommend cleaning then disinfecting high-touch areas such as doorknobs, tables, keyboards, and phones. Light switches, faucets, sinks must also be sanitised regularly especially after a person has left and then returned to the office.
To make things easier, invest in wipes or alcohol spray bottles for easier disinfection.
Keep doors and windows open
It's always better to have good air circulation within a given space, so try cracking a window open to let some fresh air in. This is particularly useful for office spaces on high floors where it's unlikely to encounter other people near a window. If possible, consider vacuuming the office space with a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter when no one is around.
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Wash your hands
We cannot stress this enough. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise them whenever possible. Have a small bottle of alcohol and a pack of tissues at the ready for easy access. This can be particularly tough on skin, so it would be useful to have a personal bottle of lotion or skin balm nearby too.
Wear a mask
This has become standard protocol for most work areas and establishments in the Metro; its efficacy must never be underestimated. Of course, it's only efficient if people know how to properly use a mask.
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For starters, it's a good reminder to always bring an extra mask with you to work, just in case.
Never touch the inside or outside of your mask. If you touch the outside of your mask, wash your hands right away without touching anything else. If you touch the inside of your mask, change it right away. Always hold onto its ear-loops or strings. When putting down your mask for lunch or for a drink of water, make sure to properly disinfect your table first. Afterwards, place a piece of tissue paper onto the table before setting your mask onto the tissue. Place another piece of tissue on top of your mask.
Never touch your face
This is probably common sense to you by now, but it's something we all have to unlearn at some point. Humans touch their faces for many reasons, sometimes to groom, sometimes as a self-soothing mechanism. Either way, we have to stop ourselves from scratching our nose, wiping our brow, or swatting away those annoying baby hairs. Our tip? Be conscious. If you feel the need to touch your face, wash your hands first or use alcohol. Simple things like being mindful of where we place our hands can save lives.
Be careful in communal areas
The pantry, the cafeteria, or any other communal areas in the office should be avoided. Also, be careful not to share things with other people: sponges, utensils, or plates. As much as possible, have personal equipment at the ready instead of relying on what might have to be shared with a group of people.
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