We have never faced such a pandemic before in our lives. The last time a pandemic broke was a century ago. So, we have not developed the habit of maintaining safety and hygiene yet. People are scared of contracting the virus from the workplaces
The countrywide holiday is over. People are getting back to their workplaces. But as the number of Covid-19 patients is increasing, office-goers are worried.
Moreover, after staying home for long two months, they need to be mentally prepared for going back to work. Nahida Rahman Shumona, director general at Regional Organisations Wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shares some tactics with The Business Standard on how to cope up at the workplace post-holiday.
Take a deep breath, relax and make a to-do-list
While some people worked from home, some were on holiday. So, anxiety regarding getting back to the offices is normal. Taking a deep breath may help to relax. Taking small breaks and stretching or reading favourite lines from their favourite books can be relaxing as well. Then, make a checklist on what you have to do when you go back to work. Having a conversation with the boss can help you prepare yourself better.
Prepare a checklist
We have never faced such a pandemic before in our lives. The last time a pandemic broke was a century ago. So, we have not developed the habit of maintaining safety and hygiene yet. People are scared of contracting the virus from the workplaces. Hence, adopting proper safety measures is a must. Have a checklist of the things you have to carry with you. Carry mask, goggles, hand sanitizer bottles, gloves, a pair of extra shoes and a set of clothes.
Maintaining social distancing and reducing crowd
Try to maintain the six feet social distance while sitting next to your colleague, although it is difficult to maintain so for those who sit in cubicles. Offices should take health safety into consideration and reduce work hours to reduce the crowd.
There should be a different arrangement where employees can work in two to three shifts. In this way, offices can avoid overcrowding. For instance, one group may work for four hours while the other team works for four hours at home.
Safety measures in the elevators
Any crammed or closed place increases risk of Covid-19 contamination. If possible, try to avoid getting in elevators. However, if you cannot avoid doing so, get in the elevators only when two to four people are inside at a time depending on the elevator's capacity. In the elevator, stand with your back facing the others.
Carry protective equipment
One positive news about coronavirus is that the recovery rate is 80 percent. But you never know when you might fall into the 20 percent category. So, prevention is always better than cure. Always wear a mask. Try to use a cotton double or triple-layered mask which is washable. Do not take off your mask while talking to others because the virus can transmit through saliva droplets while speaking. Surgical masks have particles which are bad for health and environment.
However, PPE is not needed for office goers, and you may feel suffocated if you wear one. Moreover, PPEs that are sold in the market cannot provide protection against the virus. Those who wear glasses should buy bigger frames and those who do not wear glasses should buy goggles to protect their eyes as the virus can enter the body through openings in the eyes, nose and mouth.
Try to carry alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer. Wipe or sanitise your hand after touching any surface accessible to the public. Wipe your keys, mobile phone or any metal surface. Wearing gloves is necessary to avoid contact.
Try to use a double compartmented bag
Double chambered bags are particularly useful because you can keep the safety gears in one chamber and other non-contact things in the other chamber. Try to use a bag made of leather or other material that can be wiped.
Wear cotton clothes and carry a set of spare clothing
The COvid-19 virus can live on fabric surfaces for a few hours. Cotton clothes are particularly of advantage in this regard as you can wash it easily after getting back home. If your office has a good washroom facility, try to carry an extra set of clothing. Try to soak the dress in detergent water after coming back home as detergent kills the virus.
Try to carry an extra pair of shoes
Shoes can carry the virus. Remove your shoes and wear an extra pair of shoes inside the office. Put the other pair of shoes in a bag and take it with you while going back home.
Use non-air conditioned transport
Though it is not proven, scientists think that coronavirus can transmit faster in air conditioned spaces. Also, the virus may survive in a closed place. So, it is better to use transport that is open and does not have an air conditioner.
Nahida Rahman Shumona, is director general at Regional Organisations Wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs