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COVID-19 in an office environment

  • June 04, 2020
COVID-19 in an office environment

While lockdown measures seem increasingly likely to be eased in the coming weeks, this does not mean COVID-19 no longer presents a danger, so steps must be taken in the workplace to reduce the infection risk for yourself and your colleagues.

This is article is a short summary of the most effective measures yourself and your employers can take, read the Government coronavirus advice for more.

Wash your hands

This is the single most effective measure you can take, frequently washing your hands and actively avoiding touching your face will significantly reduce the risk of infection, as washing will remove the viral particles on your hands, picked up from touching fomites (a surface which can harbour the virus).

It is particularly important to remember to wash your hands immediately after entering the office and after using any communal space such as an office kitchen.

Masks are not considered effective

New UK Government advice states that employers should not encourage the use of face masks if not previously required to undertake your work. The infection risk should primarily be combatted by social distancing and hygiene measures, the use of a mask has not been proven to provide any protection to the wearer and the benefit is extremely limited. Some studies have shown that the use of masks actually increases infection risk, as it gives users a false sense of security leading them to neglect other preventative measures. 

Use of face masks as a replacement for social distancing is not acceptable.

Only use your own workspace

No one else should be using your workspace, particularly keyboards and mice, as the virus will sit on these surfaces and infect further anyone else who touches them. Frequently clean your keyboards, mice and general workspace to lower your exposure to the virus.

Staggering arrival and leaving times

Your employer should stagger starting and finishing times for workers to reduce congestion at entrances and exits. In addition, the use of turnstiles or keypad secured doors should be avoided where possible, to reduce the necessity of touching common surfaces which can harbour the virus.

Hand-sanitiser should be provided at entry and exit points to give ample opportunity for staff to wash their hands.

It is vitally important we adhere to the social distancing and hygiene guidance as closely as possible, or we risk a second ‘spike’ in infections, ultimately resulting in more lives lost to COVID-19.


Authored by Tyler Cairns