Work From Home Safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

An employee washing their hands with soap to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 or coronavirus.

Keeping COVID-19 Out of Your Workplace  

As of March 11, COVID-19 coronavirus has infected more than 120,000 people globally and killed close to 5,000. This morning, the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading virus as a pandemic, which, according to their site, is a “worldwide spread of a new disease.”   

While only microscopic in size, this virus can leave you bed-ridden with symptoms including coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. But if it gets worse, it can lead to viral pneumonia and even death.  

Working Alone: Work-from-home policies during COVID-19 

Many organizations are implementing mandatory work-from-home policies that prohibit employees from physically coming into work. Work-from-home policies are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your office space. If you are working from home, it’s important to follow these steps:

  • Discuss work tasks and responsibilities
  • Check-in with your employer often (check-in times can vary with organizations, for example: check in every hour) to confirm your safety. Establishing a check-in procedure is an effective way to confirm the safety of your employees who are working alone from home. Setting predetermined check-in times for your staff will allow them to confirm their safety throughout their shift. 
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Proactive Steps You Can Take  

It may seem daunting to fight an enemy that is invisible to the human eye, but stocking up on mass amounts of toilet paper or using hand dryers and spraying alcohol won’t help. You can, however, take some simple steps within your office and the workplace that can reduce the likelihood of contracting the potentially dangerous virus.  

  • Wash your hands often, and always after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.  
  • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or, if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Wipe down your workstation or desk with a disinfectant, particularly the keyboard, computer mouse, work phone and any other objects or surfaces that you touch a lot.  
  •  Use a damp, soapy microfiber cloth or disinfectant wipe to clean the screens and backs of iPhones and Androids – just avoid getting water in any of the ports.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • For now, avoid close contact with people who are sick. This includes handshakes and hugs. Instead, resort to friendly waves or thumbs-ups.  
  • Clean and disinfect other frequently touched objects and surfaces like the photocopier, watercooler, and office doorknobs.  

Stay Up to Date  

To stay updated on developments around the pandemic, regularly check out the Government of Canada or World Health Organization websites. 

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