Crowded spaces, such as offices, pose a high risk for spreading germs and infection. Not only do we touch hundreds of surfaces that others also touch in an office, but pathogens can easily spread from person-to-person when we cough or sneeze into the air.
To create a safe and healthy workplace for workers and clients, office building employers, owners, managers and operation specialists can take the following steps.
While handwashing with soap and water is recommended for preventing the spread of germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing. To cut down on the spread of germs, set up hand sanitizer stations at the office entrance, and other high-touch, high-traffic areas, such as restrooms, breakrooms and conference rooms. Consider downloading and printing posters from the CDC to remind employees about recommended hygiene practices.
Regular disinfection and sanitization of common area surfaces is vital to stopping the spread of illness in the office. The CDC recommends that hard surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, light switches, faucets, toilets, printer/copiers and drinking fountains be cleaned and disinfected at least once daily during infectious periods. Germs can also spread through carpets, rugs and floor mats, so consider vacuuming and dusting nightly, particularly when an illness spike is reported in your area, or you have employees out sick.
Keeping the office clean and healthy is a shared responsibility, and, in most cases, employees want to help. Make it easy for them to chip in by supplying disinfecting wipes, and strategically placing them near high touch surfaces, such as coffee makers, refrigerator and microwave handles, vending machines and elevators. Encourage employees to wipe down their phones, desks and keyboards regularly, and provide each desk with a box of tissues to prevent shared germs. During flu season and other highly infectious times, consider making disposable gloves and face masks available for both team members and office visitors.
Airborne viruses and diseases travel on dust particles or respiratory droplets when an infected co-worker coughs or sneezes. To reduce the viral load and ensure the air in your office is germ-free, the CDC recommends several ventilation strategies, including the use of portable HEPA air cleaners. The PM400 HEPA Air Cleaner, in particular, offers true hospital-grade HEPA filtration and is an ideal air cleaner for office environments.
It’s in everyone’s best interest if sick employees stay home. While absenteeism does affect productivity, one person taking a sick day is better than causing an office-wide illness that results in a series of absences. Make it easier for your staff to stay home when they’re sick or caring for a sick family member by offering flexible leave and remote work options.
Air Quality Engineering specializes in cost-effective, high-quality air filtration systems for commercial, industrial and residential use. Our product line features several systems designed to clean the air in offices and office buildings, including hospital-grade HEPA filtration to prevent the spread of germs and viruses, like the flu and the coronavirus.
We offer the portable PM400 HEPA Air Cleaner, as well as MiracleAir and Everclear Air Cleaners for in-ceiling installation. These auxiliary units can boost air filtration in specific areas, or in instances when the central system cannot accommodate higher efficacy filtration. With the number of airborne illnesses continuing to grow, communal areas, such as offices, can never have too much air filtration.