Business people greeting during COVID-19 pandemic, elbow bump

How to Promote a Healthy Work Environment During the Pandemic  

Sharing an office with coworkers has always been a unique relationship to navigate. Figuring out who is responsible for making coffee, cleaning up the office kitchen and following microwave etiquette are common pain points when it comes to keeping the work environment clean and respectful.  

Add in the concerns of the pandemic and there are additional conversations to have at work to make sure everyone’s health and safety are considered. Some individuals may be immunocompromised or have immunocompromised family members – and may have different priorities than you do for keeping a clean, disinfected space. 

Here are some ideas to keep the office or workplace environment healthy for all:    

If you’re sick, stay home  

Struggling through the workday with symptoms like a cough and runny nose can be miserable for you – and can put your coworkers at risk of being exposed to an illness. Talk to your manager about how you can accommodate employees who have mild symptoms by offering work-from-home options or hybrid schedules.  

Allow time for employees to get vaccinated  

Vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to protect workplaces, communities and families from this potentially deadly virus. Allowing workers the time to get a COVID vaccine at a local pharmacy or clinic without penalizing their work hours may be the best way to encourage them to get vaccinated.  

Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces  

Keeping the office or workplace physically clean is important to maintaining a safe environment. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces is the first step, as well as encouraging frequent hand washing by on-site staff. Especially if the workplace has limited access to cleaning materials or a cleaning staff, provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes so workers can disinfect their work areas independently.  

Follow CDC recommendations for wearing a mask indoors  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to always wear a mask indoors. In areas where COVID-19 transmission is high, the CDC recommends all individuals wear masks while indoors.  

Consider offering hybrid or flexible options 

Offering a hybrid work schedule allows employees to work part of the time in an office, and part of the time remotely. This allows managers to limit the number of people in the office at any given time, to increase the opportunity for social distancing and to minimize opportunities for illnesses to spread. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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