Tips for safer office environments

As many GAI members start to come back to work again, we have been looking out for tips and ideas from other sectors about how best to encourage all staff to adopt good safety and hygiene practices to help reduce the risk of coronavirus. 

One idea is to get all employees returning to work to complete another health and safety induction process.

Here are some tips for what such an induction might include, in terms of new requirements for staff in an office environment:

Clean desk policy
Only work-related items should be on the desk, anything else should be put in personal drawers or kept in a bag
Use anti-bacterial wipes to clean desk and desk drawer handles, chair arms, keyboard and mouse on a daily basis
Do not share stationery
Make sure you have hand sanitiser and use it regularly
Have tissues on your desk for your own personal use and dispose of them effectively
Empty your own bin at your desk and tie up the bin liner
When using shared items/tools ensure they are cleaned after use

Social distancing
Make sure you are seated 2 metres away from your colleague and do not share desk space
Maintain 2 metres distance when conferring or waiting to use equipment such as the photocopier
Use telephone to communicate with colleagues elsewhere in the building rather than face-to-face to limit unnecessary traffic in the office
Screen share where possible to avoid crowding round PCs
When teaching or showing a detailed task keep a safe 2 metre distance and use your words to explain not your hands
Only one person to physically work on an item at any time

Wash hands on entry to the building 
Do not make drinks for anyone other than yourself
Do not leave crockery or cutlery in the sink or on the drainer, wash them up or put all items directly into the dishwasher
Do not use tea-towels, let items air dry/drain in the dishwasher
Do not leave personal items in the kitchen
Choose a safe place to eat your lunch which maintains social distancing
If you choose to eat at your desk, wash your hands and wipe down your desk before and after consuming food
Any food waste should be put in your own bin and emptied by yourself into the kitchen bin or outside bin at the end of each day
Only use company toilet facilities, do not risk cross contamination by using alternative facilities outside our office space
Wash hands on entry to the toilets and wash them again for at least 20 seconds before leaving
Use a paper towel on the handle to open the toilet door on exit and dispose of paper towel in nearest bin
Keep all your personal belongings including coats, bags, drinking flasks, Tupperware, phones and headphones at your workstation

Meeting rooms
Use a meeting room that is large enough to accommodate social distancing
Only use the confines of a meeting room if absolutely necessary
Make sure the meeting room is well ventilated
Wipe down the meeting room tables and chairs after use
Take all your belongings with you, nobody should be tidying up after you