Thanks to the global pandemic of coronavirus in just a span of a few months, everything we knew has changed. Social distancing, work from home, precautions while going out, home schooling, masks, lockdown, are some of the basic aspects of a new normal that is dawning upon us.
While lockdowns do their bit in slowing down the virus, they aren’t a permanent solution. The economies are getting choked, unemployment is reaching new heights, and people are worried about meeting their expenses.
Did you know, during this pandemic more than 40 million people have filed for unemployment in the U.S. alone? (1)
Hence the governments all around the world are now easing off the restrictions. They are opening up the offices while encouraging people to take as many precautions while working and maintain the highest level of hygiene.
My boss has asked me to come to work, which precautions I must take while going out?
While we all shuffle our way through the chaos, wait for a vaccine for COVID-19, and support the economy by going to work, here are a few must take precautions to ensure you don’t bring the coronavirus back home to family and friends –
1. Follow your hygiene routine diligently
Never before coronavirus has hygiene been so important.
The moment you step out of the house make sure you are wearing a face mask/ face shield. Avoid using the same face masks/face covers every day.
Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a paper soap and water with you. Wash your hands for 20 seconds every time you enter and exit a crowd setting.
Avoid sharing your vehicle with anyone and make sure you disinfectant the high touch areas every time you use them.
2. Maintain social distancing and kindness
With social distancing being added to our lifestyle, it’s important we don’t let this distance make our hearts cold.
Maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times.
Greet your co-workers but not by shaking hands. Try namaste, fist bumps, elbow taps, or foot shakes.
Encourage virtual meetings instead of getting people together in the conference room.
Use Plexiglas barriers when distancing isn’t possible.
Irrespective of all these precautions, if your co-worker is sneezing, coughing, or seems ill, its reasonable you inform the HR or ask them politely to take the day off and get tested for COVID-19. But don’t stigmatize the symptoms.
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3. Honesty is a superpower
During COVID-19 everyone is a superhero. We have the power (and the responsibility) to protect not only ourselves but others around us too.
If you feel you aren’t feeling too well and are coming down with “flu” like symptoms, don’t dismiss them.
Inform your office and practice home quarantine. And if you do test positive for coronavirus, without delay, inform all the people you met in the last 10-15 days. Remember timely contact tracing can help flatten the curve.
4. Sharing is not caring
Coronavirus is a highly infectious customer. While social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing are important, it’s equally important you avoid using shared things.
Carry your own lunch and water bottle.
Add common things like earphones, power banks, laptop chargers, in your bag as well.
Make sure you avoid using crowded lifts, vending machines, and pantries.
Try and carry your own tea/coffee pouches. Don’t forget to keep a pack of disinfectant tissues in your bag. All this may feel like a burden, but it is for keeping you and your loved ones safe from COVID-19.
5. Disinfect, Disinfect, and Disinfect
One of the ways we can prevent ourselves while going out by making sure everything we touch is clean and virus free. Since the moment we step out of the house, everything we touch – from our vehicles to car handles to doorknobs, to lift buttons to work stations to laptops to stair railings, needs to be disinfected. The vigilant we are, the safer we will be.
6. Encourage the change
We can’t deny that post coronavirus our offices will look different. Encourage office authorities to adopt CDC suggested safety measures –
- Thermal screenings at entry
- Sanitization in every few hours
- Discourage entry of visitors
- Ensuring the supply of soap and sanitizers
- Encouraging employees to take the day off if they aren’t feeling well
- Close gyms and recreational centers
7. Don’t drop the guard when you reach home
After a long day at work, when you come back, it is not the time to get lazy and drop down the guard against COVID-19.
Avoid talking to anyone or touching anything.
Take a bath and put your clothes in the washer.
Wash your mask/face shield and sanitize every item that went out with you – wallet, shoes, keys, bag, mobile, laptop, etc.
Wash your mouth, do gargles, or sip onto some turmeric ginger tea.
Remember these are tough, anxious times for everyone. Let’s do our bit by taking the necessary precautions and being compassionate towards all.