As the vaccine continues to roll out and the CDC relaxes health guidelines, returning to the office is becoming a reality for many people. To reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19, you may want to take some extra care to keep yourself and your family safe. Some of these precautions are reminiscent of when we all entered 2020 and coronavirus had just begun to rear its ugly head. Consider these tips a friendly reminder and take note of some new tips to keep your home a safe space.
Travel With Your Own Hand Sanitizer
Most businesses and offices have adopted the practice of providing hand sanitizer stations at their entrances and/or exits. Still, with the influx of people returning to the workplace, you can’t count on dispensers to keep your hands disinfected. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID is to keep your hands clean, so you should always carry your own sanitizer.
Look for sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol and keep them in your and your family’s handbags, backpacks and suitcases.
Keep a Mask Handy
Whether or not you are fully vaccinated, you may still feel more comfortable wearing a mask. If that is the case, keep a mask with you, especially if it will help you feel safer. There are also a few occasions when fully-vaccinated people will still be required to wear a mask, like in healthcare facilities or during a flight. If you’re unvaccinated, masks are still advised.
Keep on Keeping Your Distance
We still don’t know how well the vaccine works against preventing the spread of COVID-19, how effective the different vaccines are against any of these new variants or even how long the vaccines will continue to protect people. Social distancing remains one of the most effective ways to ensure you won’t catch or unknowingly transmit the coronavirus.
Avoid Shaking Hands
Get used to the awkwardness of not shaking hands when you return to your place of work and see the ol’ gang. Our best advice is to still lead with the elbow. Not everyone is vaccinated and while the risk may be low, it isn’t zero. Avoiding close contact, especially with people outside of your home, is still a great way to prevent the possibility of exposure.
Wash Hands Frequently
Cleaning hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day will help prevent you from picking up, carrying or bringing the coronavirus home.
Avoid Touching Your Face
We all touch our eyes, nose and mouth approximately 16 times an hour. This revelation was made much more poignant at the onset of the pandemic. It may be a tough habit to break but try to avoid touching your face. The virus is transmitted through mucous membranes, so making a conscious effort not to touch your face will help reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 from office to home.
Routinely Clean Items You Touch When You Arrive Home
Starting with doorknobs, handrails, your house keys, cellphone, etc.—systematically do a quick wipe-down of these surfaces to prevent you from bringing any outside germs into your home. You may also want to jump in for a quick shower yourself just to help keep the virus at bay.
Avoid Busy Public Commutes if Possible
If you rely on public transportation, you’re accustomed to being confined to a small space with strangers. You may want to consider speaking to your company about flexible arrival and/or departure times to help avoid peak commuter hours.
Stay Home if You are Sick and Send Sick Employees Home
If you are feeling unwell, whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or not, stay home. If you are in the office and notice someone is under the weather, send them home or let their supervisor know that it might be better for them to head home for the safety of the office.
Stay Vigilant at Home
Now that you and members of your household will likely be socializing, heading back to school and working in the office much more often than last year, it is crucial not to let your guard down when it comes to coronavirus protection and prevention. Encourage your family and friends to stay attentive to all the ways we have learned to keep our communities and ourselves safe as we begin to return to a semblance of normalcy.
If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, we are all doing the best we can with the knowledge that we have. It is essential to know that we are still learning about this virus and still adapting to how it has changed our environment. As we begin to return to the office, keeping our homes as safe as they have been this past year will continue to be of the utmost importance.