Returning to Work After Remote Operations? <em>Key Considerations for Preparing Your Office in the Wake of COVID-19</em>
Halosil Blog

Timely insights on whole room disinfection.

HealthcareJuly 7, 2020

Returning to Work After Remote Operations? Key Considerations for Preparing Your Office in the Wake of COVID-19

In early 2020, the majority of workplaces in the U.S. transitioned to full-time remote operations due to the spread of COVID-19. Through social distancing efforts, employers aimed to protect workers by minimizing interactions with one another. Today, as states begin to reopen, employers are now challenged with how to continue to keep employees healthy by minimizing the transmission of COVID-19 across their workplace.

While the decision when to return to the workplace—if at all—will vary by company, most employers are investigating methods to decrease transmission of COVID-19. This requires employers to consider tactics from all angles: the people, the workspace, and the disinfection strategy.

The People

Consistent with the CDC’s guidance that people wear face masks in all public settings where they will encounter individuals who do not live in their home, some employers are advising or requiring employees to wear face masks in the office. This requirement stems from reports that face masks can have a notable impact on curbing the spread of the COVID-19. According to a review and meta-analysis funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in The Lancet, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.4%; with an N95 respirator or face mask, that number drops to 3.1%. Based on these recommendations, employees are often encouraged to wear face masks, particularly in shared or public spaces.

The Workspace

The modern office space is known for open floorplans and shared workspaces. While ideal for collaboration, the COVID-19 pandemic has made employers recognize that such conditions are a breeding grounds for disease. As a result, employers are considering ways to reconfigure the workplace to minimize shared spaces where pathogens may linger on surfaces. Cubicles, although often associated with an outdated workplace, are being considered as they limit contact with high touch surfaces like desks, chairs, and phones. In addition, some workspaces are contemplating plastic, see-through partitions that feel more modern than the traditional cubicle but can act as a sneeze or cough guard.

The Disinfection Strategy

Prior to the pandemic, corporate cleaning staffs typically “freshened” lobbies every three hours, sanitized restrooms every four hours, and cleaned other areas at night. Today in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are demanding increased cleaning cycles and contemplating solutions that go beyond cleaning to disinfect surfaces. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s List N of products that meet the criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, is being referenced to identify best-fit disinfectants. However, not all solutions deliver the efficacy, flexibility, and usability some workplaces require. For workplaces with electronics like computers and printers, it’s important to find a solution such as the Halo Disinfection System® that’s dry fog delivery can be used around sensitive electronic devices.

Preparing Workspaces for the Return of Employees

Whether employers expect employees to return in the near term or plan to remain remote for the upcoming weeks or months, it’s critical to take a multi-pronged approach to curbing the spread of infection. Whole room disinfection solutions such as our Halo Disinfection System® can play an integral role in these efforts. As a List N solution, our HaloMist™ (EPA Reg. No. 84526-6) is approved for use in office spaces to eliminate pathogens wherever they lurk.

Talk to a Halosil expert today to discuss your office disinfection strategy.