Tips for Physical Distancing in the Workplace


Office workers shake hands when meeting and greet bumping elbows.

Some of us may be re-entering the workplace after several weeks, if not months, of self-isolation at home.  Naturally, both employers and staff are concerned that their work environments are adequately set up to help people to stay safe, while still remaining productive and comfortable at work. 

We wanted to help!  So, we’ve compiled this list from the various health authorities of tips for helping to physically distance in the workplace.

  1. Have sanitizing and PPE supplies (ie. masks) readily available to each employee and in high-touch areas such as by the photocopier and breakroom. 
  2. Post arrows to direct traffic in the office one-way only to avoid unnecessary contact. For example, always have people walk clockwise.  
  3. If in a cubical workspace, have every other person in a workstation to keep physically distant.
  4. Avoid shaking hands with others, and if you feel contact is absolutely necessary, try an elbow bump in lieu of a handshake.   
  5. Stay home if you are feeling unwell and avoid contact with people who are sick.
  6. Discourage the sharing of telephones, keyboards, desks and workstations, and if this can’t be avoided sanitize between users. 
  7. Conduct virtual meetings as an alternative to a face-to-face meeting.
  8. Have only a half capacity of employees be in the office at a time (working on a rotating schedule A/B rotation).
  9. Stagger start times, breaks and lunches to limit any unnecessary contact. 
  10. Suspend all group activities and gatherings for the time being.
  11. Consider bringing back employees as gradual as possible, to limit both the employer and staff from being too overwhelmed with the change in procedures. 
  12. Posting positive notes or motivational messages around the office to show you care about staff’s mental health during this time is also very important.  This can help to reduce any increase in anxiety and stress due to the new environment. 
  13. Where you can’t follow physical distancing, install barriers such as Plexiglas to separate people.
  14. Restrict visitors and limit workplace entry to only essential personnel.
  15. Consider re-arranging the office layout by moving furniture or using visual cues such as tape on the floor to enhance physical distancing.
  16. Have tissues or paper towels conveniently located to be used to turn off light switches, open doors, push buttons, etc.
  17. In the washrooms, mark off any sinks and urinals that are not at least 6-ft away from one another to ensure sufficient physical distancing.

We hope this was helpful and you find comfort in knowing that we are all in this together as we learn how to navigate these challenging times! 

Sources:

https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/netherlands/six-feet-office

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/mental-health.html

https://www.pshsa.ca/covid-19/rtwp

What Is Antimicrobial?


By using products with an antimicrobial protection, not only will you protect yourself from picking up potentially harmful bacteria but you will reduce the spread of such bacteria on any shared surfaces.

It’s a term you’ve heard for years, that we’ve come to understand is something that helps protect us, but what exactly does antimicrobial mean anyways and how does it help us? We’ll answer those questions here!

So, what does antimicrobial mean?

Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi such as mold and mildew.1 You can find antimicrobial products everywhere – in your home, workplace or school.

Antimicrobial technology typically contains one of three active ingredients2 :

  1. Silver ion – used in a wide range of materials and applications including medical coatings, plastics and food-contact products
  2. Zinc – which is commonly used as an antifungal
  3. Copper – used as a preservative on hard surfaces

Which ingredient that is added is determined by the product type, where in the world it will be sold, and what efficacy claims the manufacturer is looking to make.

But how does it help protect me?

By using products with an antimicrobial protection, not only will you protect yourself from picking up potentially harmful bacteria but you will reduce the spread of such bacteria on any shared surfaces. In addition, the enhanced protection will also help extend the life of your product by protecting it from deteriorating quicker, staining and developing odours. This protection also doesn’t wash off or wear away, so you can enjoy the benefit of having continuous antimicrobial protection.

Proper Waste Disposal at the Office


Properly Disposing of Waste at Office

If your workplace is like ours, you go through a lot of waste. That means, between lunches, office supplies and old electronics, you’re sending a lot of garbage to already over-burdened landfills.

Meanwhile, at home, many of us have made changes. We’re becoming waste-conscious, recycling and composting, even adopting zero- and low-waste lifestyles.

How can that translate to the office? Through more conscious day-to-day choices, you can easily reduce your office’s environmental impact. Here’s a guide to get you there.

Old electronics

Have any ancient PCs collecting dust at your office? Don’t throw them in the dumpster! Already, 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste ends up in Canadian landfills every year. These items contain valuable materials that can be re-used to create new products. But they can be tricky to dispose of.

Luckily, there are businesses out there to help you bridge the gap. These differ across provinces and territories. For example, in Ontario, Best Buy accepts things like old computers, TVs, phones and batteries. You can also opt for a service through the Electronic Products Recycling Association, like Recycle my Electronics.

Toner and ink

Here, many local suppliers have you covered. Check to see if you can return your cartridges where you buy them.

Paper and Cardboard

Cardboard and paper can be recycled four-to-five times without loss of quality or strength. Still, it’s important to recycle each of them properly.

Cardboard is naturally biodegradable so, if you have your own compost at the office, this can be shredded and tossed in. Otherwise, for non-soiled cardboard, recycling is your best bet. Break down boxes and large pieces, and tie them together into a tight bundle when you leave them at the curb.

The recycling bin is your best destination for most paper. Even sticky notes, which you may have wondered about, are usually recyclable. Local recycling plants are able to remove the adhesive. But, stop before you throw away that soiled napkin! Keep reading for tips on proper disposal of food waste.

Food waste

Most paper in the office will be bound for the recycling bin, but soiled paper is a different story. Greasy paper plates and used napkins can be composted along with most food items.