With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning back to your workspace takes the right plan. Here are some essential tips to help keep workspaces safer, respond to office illness and make sure everyone is comfortable seeking in-person care if needed.

| 3 years ago

4 Tips for Safely Returning to Work

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning back to your workspace takes the right plan. Here are some essential tips to help keep workplaces safer, respond to office illness and make sure everyone is comfortable seeking in-person care if needed.

If you’ve been away from your office during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, transitioning back to your workspace brings plenty of opportunity and excitement. But it can also create uncertainty. How should your organization keep employees safe? What do you need to do differently? There are plenty of questions and challenges. 

That’s why Atrium Health launched COVID-Safe for Employers, a program that offers expert clinical guidance to help businesses reopen safely. With everything from educational materials to screening and testing for employees, the program allows your team to get back to work in a COVID-Safe environment. 

But as a first step, there are a few things every employer should know. Here are four essential tips to help you plan.

Tip #1:

Preparing your workspaces to re-open. While all work environments are unique, here are some general tips for safer workspaces.

Encourage employees to frequently disinfect cellphones, computers and other personal equipment. It’s also a good idea to remove clutter from work areas such as photos, decorations and stacks of paper/forms.

Be sure to provide an adequate number of trash cans. To ensure social distancing, post CDC-approved social distancing signs and distancing marks on the floor.

Tip #2:

Preparing common areas. Here are some general tips for safer workspaces.

To limit the spread of germs via contact with public surfaces, move unnecessary furniture out of common areas. You should also remove all plants from the lobby and enclose lobby water features. Be sure the remaining furniture is cleanable.  If possible, the CDC suggests closing off all common and lobby areas.

Next, contact maintenance to shut off all drinking fountains. Place signage on fountains to alert employees of this change. We also suggest providing bottled water for your employees.

Hand soap and/or hand sanitizer should be available at all times. Be sure to routinely check dispensers and confirm they’re working properly. In addition, no paper towels or rolls of toilet paper should be sitting outside the holders. Find a safe place for these items where employees can replenish during the day.

Tip #3:

If exposed, social isolation is key.

Any employee who develops symptoms of COVID-19 at work should immediately be separated from coworkers, customers and visitors and sent home. An employee who develops symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor and stay home.

If an employee has been exposed to COVID-19—even if they’re not showing symptoms—they should remain at home and practice social isolation for 14 days. An employee is considered “exposed” if they have been in close contact (e.g., within approximately 6 feet) with someone who is infected for a prolonged period of time.

Tip #4:

A doctor’s note isn’t required.

Employers should not ask sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or doctor’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave or return to work. Healthcare facilities may be extremely busy and unable to provide this type of documentation right away.

COVID-Safe: How to get in-person care

As employees transition back to work, they should also feel comfortable seeking in-person care if needed. At Atrium Health, we’re setting the national standard for care. Here’s what we’re doing to keep everyone who comes to our facilities COVID-Safe:

  • Coronavirus screenings – We screen all patients before their visits, and we screen employees every day.
  • Rapid coronavirus testing – In addition to testing patients before procedures, our labs achieve results up to 3 days faster than other local healthcare providers.
  • Clean facilities – We work hard to fight germs with extensive cleaning and disinfectant protocols.
  • PPE for patients – All patients are offered appropriate personal protective equipment, such as face masks, before visits.
  • Virtual coronavirus hospital – We have the first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Virtual Hospital, which allows COVID-19 positive patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes.
  • Leading by example – Our employees follow the latest best practices, including wearing the appropriate protective equipment and washing their hands frequently.

If you’re interested in learning more about how COVID-Safe for Employers can help your company get back to work, email us at COVID19RTW@AtriumHealth.org.

If you or your employees need care at any time, visit AtriumHealth.org/GetCareNow to see your options. You can also learn more about COVID-19 at AtriumHealth.org/Coronavirus.