Back to Business: Protecting Your Workplace in Post-Vaccine World
This year has been hard for all of us as we have dealt with the realities of our daily lives during the time of Covid. Now that the CDC is reporting nearly 100 million Americans have received at least 1 dose of a coronavirus vaccine many individuals, families and businesses are preparing to put the Covid era behind them and return to some normalcy. During the past year our team has worked to keep our community up to date on cleaning guidelines and best practices, as we prepare to return to work and business as usually our team held a Webinar on getting “Back to Business: Protecting Your Workplace in Post-Vaccine World”. Here is what we covered!
Best Business Practices During Vaccine Rollout
While many of us are happy to run to the front of the line for a vaccine consider the timeline for vaccination is different for each individual. Eligibility guidelines, accessibility, and availability are all reasons that might cause delay in getting vaccinated with some Americans choosing to bypass getting the Covid vaccine altogether. While we wait to get to herd immunity we must continue to work to protect the health of our customers and employees. During this transition it is important that we continue to follow the CDC guidelines of: Maintaining social distance, Utilizing PPE like masks, shields and gloves where appropriate, washing hands frequently, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces, and staying away from others if you are not feeling well. Taking these steps not only reduces our exposure to Covid but has also assisted in making the 20-21 Flu Season the lowest flu season on record! Lynette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “Mask wearing, social distancing, a push to get more people vaccinated against flu and fewer people traveling have all like we played a role in a virtually nonexistent flu season this year.”
Preparing for Increased Business
As more and more states and municipalities lift restrictions and the vaccination process forges on, it is important to establish a baseline to prepare your business and operations for the influx of customers and the re-introduction of employees. We recommend following our deep cleaning for coronavirus step-by-step guide, which will provide you with tips on how to clean and disinfect surfaces including: carpet, upholstery, tile, grout, and natural stone. We also recommend having your HVAC system inspected for proper functionality (recommended once per year). IICRC (The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration) has recommended certain timelines based on multiple factors. Ultimately the intervals between professional cleaning and the amount of foot traffic your business generates will determine your cleaning timeline.
When to Hire a Professional
Self-cleaning is important and necessary especially for everyday business. Wiping down desks and tablets, mopping restrooms and floors, vacuuming, and disinfecting touch surfaces, are all import to maintaining a clean and healthy workplace. However professional cleaning provides a much deeper clean which requires trained, qualified professionals that perform the job that an average cleaner cannot. Other benefits of having your business professionally cleaned include:
- Decreased chance of having to shut down operations
- When you are proactive with your cleaning and disinfection, the likelihood of having to cease operations due to an illness lessens significantly
- A deeper, more thorough clean
- Specialized technicians and professional grade equipment
- Certificate of disinfectant application
- Flexibility, speed and thoroughness
- Performing the disinfection process during non-operational hours at an extremely efficient rate so your business never skips a beat
Lasting Effects of the Vaccination Process
With differences in reopening protocols by localities we can be sure that the “New Normal” will be different for everyone. It is however safe to assume that as the weeks and months ahead we will begin to see more businesses reopening fully, people milling about, and a number of guidelines we’ve incorporated as a society may integrate into everyday life. Our coworkers, for instance, may be more reticent to come to the office when feeling unwell, regardless of COVID. We may also continue with more stringent cleaning protocols. Whatever the case may be it is important to stay up to date with information. Some common FAQs:
Q: What happens if things don’t go as planned (spike in cases, new strain, etc.)?
A: Ensure that your business has a plan in place. We recommend your plan is written and approved amongst your team, and that you have the resources and ability to maintain it if needed.
Q: When re-opening, does scheduling a COVID-19 disinfection service cover all my bases?
A: Only if it includes full service to touch surfaces, flooring and air handling systems
Q: Is there a reason to continue to disinfect my building in a “post-vaccine world” or once the majority of my employees have been vaccinated?
A: Yes. Covid-19 is not the only virus or bacteria that can cause illness. Application of disinfectant will always help remove potentially harmful pathogens
Q: What are some of the differences between cleaning and disinfecting in buildings that have been closed until now versus those that have remained open throughout?
A: Closed up buildings may only require a proactive cleaning and open building may require a reactive cleaning or more frequent disinfectant application for occupant comfort
Navigating the post-vaccine world doesn’t have to be complicated. Heeding the advice of the infectious disease professionals at the CDC, establishing baseline and plan, and being adaptable will aid in making this transition smooth. The Pros at COIT are always willing to help and can assist in developing these cleaning plans and timelines.