As organizations around the country begin to reopen their economies, business leaders will be responsible for assuring employees, customers, and visitors that management is doing all it can to keep its spaces safe. People will expect you to meet previously unimagined standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
As a team of germophobes and infection control technology specialists, we have thought a lot about this. Here are some first steps to consider in reopening your business:
Make a set of “no personal contact rules”: Limit handshaking or other situations that entail physical contact. Limit large meetings and post the number of people each room can accommodate. Do not forget to update room booking software to adjust to the new restrictions.
Encourage “no item sharing” when possible: Eliminate exposure to shared objects, like pens, staplers, notebooks, markers, desk space, file folders, computers, and assign these to individual workers.
Create prominent hand sanitizing stations: Invest in safety for both workers and visitors. Buy hand sanitizers of 60 percent or more alcohol to volume and make them freely available across business and office spaces. Also consider the use of no-touch garbage cans and easily accessible disinfectant cleansing wipes.
Prioritize hygiene of phones and other handheld items: Phones and tablets are a breeding ground for pathogens; the average phone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Yet we wash our hands, and then immediately touch our phones. Giving visitors and employees a way to sanitize phones, using technologies like CleanSlate UV, allows for true personal hygiene in a mobile world.
Reorganize your floorplan: Reconfigure workspaces to maximize 6-foot distances between workers, customers, and visitors. Expect to shift away from shared spaces and open space offices. Consider designating hallways for one-way traffic only.
Reduce the number of common gathering areas: Reconfigure office hangout spots to minimize socializing and maximize safe workstations. Workers will still need breaks; make sure breakrooms have enough space to accommodate staff safely.
Reduce the exposure of public-facing positions, such as receptionists, through reconfiguring reception areas and adding plexiglass shields.
Post cleaning rules: Put up signs near common-use equipment like copying machines or industrial tools to make clear how to clean the equipment properly between uses. Frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and handrails should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Adjust business hours: Schedule employees’ working hours to balance business needs with reduced crowding and increased safety.
Offer protective gear to your employees: Figure out a plan for getting a sufficient supply of PPE, keeping the equipment clean and training employees on how to wear it properly. Create a cleaning and sanitation schedule.