Top Tips to Reopen your Office Safely

Office workers are gradually returning to their workspaces following a period of home working due to government imposed lockdowns. Many will be pleased to be able to once again separate their work life from their home life. However, many could also be worried about the safety implications of returning to the office while Covid-19 remains a threat. There are various measures businesses should take to make the return to shared workspaces a safe and positive experience for their staff. 
 
According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), the cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is also a best practice measure for prevention of Covid-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings. 
 
Particular attention should be paid to shared items that are subject to regular human contact, including printers, kettles, microwaves and door handles. Health authorities recommend the use of an alcohol-based antiseptic solution containing at least 70% alcohol and 30% water to disinfect surfaces. 

OKI Europe Ltd’s Top Tips:

1. Clean and sanitise thoroughly and regularly

  • Carry out a thorough deep clean of the entire workplace  
  • A frequent cleaning schedule should also be established to ensure the office and all communal areas are sanitised during and at the end of each working day
  • Provide hand sanitiser throughout the office from the entrance and in communal areas 
  • Place notices reminding workers to wash their hands regularly

2. Keep shared equipment such as your OKI printer clean

  • Special attention should be paid when cleaning printers as cleaning products to prevent potential damage. Avoid hash chemicals such as bleach, abrasives, ammonia or peroxide. 
  • Only use alcohol based cleaners containing the CDC recommendation of at least 70% isopropyl alcohol combined with 30% water to disinfect.
  • Wear disposable gloves (latex or nitrile) and unplug each printer prior to cleaning.
  • Start by testing a small area first. Avoid spraying the printer with any cleaning solutions and avoid using paper towels or tissues.
  • Dampen a microfiber cloth with the cleaning solution and clean the entire surface of the device, paying special attention to the parts most exposed to users' touch including the buttons.
  • When it comes to cleaning multifunction printers that can scan and copy, do not apply a cleaning solution directly on the scanner glass. Instead, use a clean microfiber cloth slightly moistened with water to clean the scanner glass and the document feeder (ADF). 
  • Ensure all parts of any printer that has been cleaned have dried before reconnecting the device to the mains power. 
  • Discard gloves and wash hands thoroughly.

3. Safety guidelines and procedures

  • Closely monitor government and WHO guidelines.
  • Update corporate health & safety policies and ensure these are communicated and understood by all staff.
  • Limit the number of staff in the office at any one time.
  • Limit / avoid visitors to the office.

4. Health and sickness Policies

  • Update health and sickness policies to include guidelines specific to Covid-19. 
  • Ensure staff feel comfortable and are aware of the need to report potential Covid-19 symptoms.  
  • Instruct staff to stay at home if they are feeling unwell. Staff experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should follow government guidelines and self-isolate.
  • Implement a process of track & trace to identify members of staff who may have been exposed to the virus and request them to self-isolate.

5. Encourage social distancing around the office

  • Manage the number of staff in the office to help social distancing to be maintained.
  • Keep the recommended distance between workspaces and chairs 
  • Implement a one-way route around the office. 
  • Limit the number of people in communal areas such as kitchens/cafeterias, restrooms and meeting rooms.
  • Use signage to remind staff to keep a safe distance from each other. 
 
Making sure workers respect and adhere to social distancing guidelines could prove to be one of the biggest challenges as offices re-open. To help businesses overcome this challenge, OKI has launched an initiative to provide free* social distancing media and artwork. Launched in partnership with Floralabels, the initiative enables quick and easy creation of self-adhesive floor and window stickers to promote social distancing. 
The complimentary designs will help to protect the wellbeing of staff and visitors, reminding them to keep two metres apart. The stickers are available in three formats: a self-adhesive floor circle (285 x 285mm) and rectangular floor banners in two sizes (215 x 900mm and 297 x 1,320 mm) and can be printed from any A3 colour printer.

A safe and smooth transition

As we return to a new normality, office staff will need to adapt to a new environment and way of working. By following these tips, businesses can help facilitate a positive return to office life while helping their staff safe.
 

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