May 14 2020 – Erin Mawhinney
Are you sick of hearing about tips to stay healthy yet?
You may be, but it’s important. In the current RONA-ridden climate, all of us are ensuring that our physical health has a strong guard up now more than ever.
As places of work and public spaces begin to reopen over the next little while, our feelings of safety may start to feel threatened.
After months of being told to stay inside and avoid communal settings, we must re-adapt to how our lives were before quarantine set in. Call it reverse culture shock?
It’s interesting to consider how the tightened health-guidelines over the past few months will affect how we move forward with workplace health standards. Nevertheless, the virus is not gone, and we need to be smart about how we take these next steps together as we return to our respective offices. After all, a staggering 90% of employees will come to work even when they are sick, in part due to an ever-growing workload. So...
Stay Home When You’re Sick
This should sound obvious, right? If you’re sick, you take some time and try to get better - easy enough. However, as mentioned above, this is not always so simple. It’s a two-way street for employers and their employees to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. If employees are expected to stay home when they are sick, employers are equally expected to provide sick days. When a person takes time off work to get better, not only do they recover more quickly, but they also prevent their coworkers from getting sick. Even more, it may even be possible for work to be conducted from home. Yes, productivity may be king in the modern workplace, but a team’s health and safety should be higher-than-king (Emperor, perhaps?)
Set Designated Eating Areas
Food particles and residue are a common channel for germ-transmission. Therefore, eating lunch is not for the same place that you conduct business. You might find yourself so busy that eating lunch at your desk seems like the only viable option, but to that, we yet again emphasize that your health is more important than your work. No ifs, and, or buts. Even more, leaving your desk and getting a change of scenery is beneficial for your mental health, as it promotes taking a break from your screen, relaxing, and connecting with colleagues.
Regularly Wipe Down Your Workspace
This may be a harsh reality to many, but research has found that your computer or laptop keyboard has 20,000 times more germs than a toilet seat. Moreover, your smartphone has more than 9,000 times more germs than a toilet seat. EW?! Unwashed hands, food crumbs, and dust all contribute to the bacteria found on a keyboard, even if you can’t see it. To properly disinfect your laptop and the rest of your workspace, you should be taking a disinfecting wipe to the area daily - or, if you’re generally the only person using your workspace, once per week at the very least. However, during COVID-season, maybe stick to daily (or several times daily)! Besides, a clean workspace maintains a sense of professionalism and attention to detail.
Cover Your Mouth When You Cough or Sneeze
If a person coughs without covering their mouth, their germs are propelled from their mouth and nose to the rest of the room and into the air.
This would prove much more likely to make others sick. Many infections are spread through microscopic water droplets expelled from an infected person, commonly through coughing, sneezing, and hand-to-mouth contact.
Not only can an uncovered cough or sneeze send droplets up to six feet away, but the virus can remain airborne for hours. It’s important to note that although covering your cough is always better than coughing into the open air, it is not advised to cough into your bare hands. When this is done, we infect everything we touch thereafter - doorknobs, keyboards, documents, others’ hands… instead, it is always best to have tissues handy. Of course, this may prove to be unrealistic, in which case coughing into your elbow is the next best option. Coughing into your elbow dramatically reduces the risk of germ-transmission. When it comes to sneezes, the potential rate of transmission is even higher - small germy particles from a sneeze can travel up to 24 feet and stay airborne for up to 24 hours. Yikes. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow!
Last but certainly not least, hand sanitizer cannot be underestimated.
Studies have shown that workspaces that supply hand sanitizing stations have healthier employees and fewer instances of illnesses among them, period. Surveys have found that while 92% of Americans believe it’s important to wash their hands after using a public restroom, only 66% of them do.
Whether this be to save time or due to a crippling fear of public sinks, it makes it that much more important to supply hand sanitizer in public washrooms and throughout an office. We at grace & stella are so happy that we get to soon provide you with a hand sanitizing product that promotes healthy practices and safe interaction. The higher the alcohol content of a sanitizer usually translates to higher efficacy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the importance of hand sanitizers containing at least 60-70% alcohol. Ours is 75% ethyl alcohol and a real germ ass-kicker. As far as we’re concerned, it’s time to kick illness to the curb.
All-in-all, it is so important to remember that although an illness such as a light cough may not be a big deal to you, it may have the potential to loom very largely in someone else’s life.
All of us, in workspaces or out, have a communal responsibility as citizens of the world to look out for each other. This means trying our absolute best to ensure we are conscientious of each other’s health and safety. We should have each others’ backs, and this means following hygienic practices to the best of our abilities.
Tagged: hand sanitizer