The pandemic has changed how workplaces operate, so you need to be prepared for the new normal if you’ve been working from home. But that doesn’t mean you should be fearful of going back to work again. Right now, you may not be too excited about switching from pajama pants to slacks, but getting together with your colleagues has a lot of benefits.
Staying home every day can make you feel out of sync from your coworkers. For many, it’s just downright depressing. Odds are good you’re feeling torn between not wanting to be around people who aren’t wearing masks versus staying home and being alone. That’s completely normal. Lots of people are feeling the same way. But with so many of us getting vaccinated now, it looks like we’re going to transition to a life somewhere between the extremes we’ve been living in for the past year. If that makes you feel anxious, there’s no need to be worried. You can take your personal safety into your own hands.
At this point, you’re already well-versed in mask wearing, so there’s no need to rehash that here. But the next line of defense you should be mindful of is your hands and surroundings. Germs can live on surfaces anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. That’s why disinfection and hand sanitization are so important. So instead of just throwing caution to the wind, here are 5 things to remember about avoiding germs as you return to the office.
Don’t trust the cheap hand sanitizer in your office
Buying lots of cleaning and sanitization supplies are an added expense for businesses. And as you know, most businesses prefer to keep costs low. Really low. This results in bulk purchases of brands you’ve never heard of, which most likely have been produced overseas.
There is such a big opportunity to make quick profits from this right now, it’s simply not possible for the EPA and FDA to catch all of the inferior disinfection and hand sanitization products entering the US.
There have been a number of instances throughout the pandemic where the US government banned imports of sanitizing and disinfecting products from China and Mexico that didn’t meet approved standards. A small number were misclassified while others weren’t effective at all. Some were even dangerous. But even with the increased regulation, many of these cheap products have landed in warehouses and on store shelves.
Rather than using the off-brand liquid hand sanitizer you see being offered in so many offices and stores now, your best solution is to use hand sanitizing wipes. You may not have thought about it before, but liquid hand sanitizer doesn’t remove dirt and debris from your hands. You need a wipe to scrub and lift those particles away.
SONO Hand Sanitizing Wipes are alcohol-free and use an active ingredient recently shown to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection. The formula is gentle on your hands but kills 99.99% of the most common germs you’ll encounter. It’s safe to use multiple times a day and includes bergamot essential oils and moisturizers to keep your hands from drying out.
Don’t expect the cleaning staff to keep your office germ-free
Most cleaning teams come into the office late at night. They tend to focus on cleaning the floors and emptying trash cans. In most offices, they don’t clean the dishes or cups in break rooms. That’s left to the employees.
Even before the pandemic, studies were conducted to test office mugs and other surfaces for germs. What they found was truly frightening. Since no one person is usually responsible for making sure sponges are thrown out after a few uses, most employees are wiping bacteria onto every cup and plate they clean. It’s no wonder so many illnesses quickly spread through office environments. Another reason to make sure you are sanitizing or washing your hands regularly.
Beyond the break room, cleaning teams don’t typically dust desks or disinfect keyboards and phones. Have you ever looked behind your office computer to see how dusty it is? That’s an obvious sign the cleaning staff is not disinfecting your office for you.
And while it would be nice to just rely on your employer to provide everything you need to disinfect your desk, phone, keyboard and all the high-touch areas in your office, it’s best to bring disinfecting wipes you know are high-quality. SONO Disinfecting Wipes are the brand hospitals and doctors have trusted for more than 10 years to kill drug-resistant germs while also being safe for everyday use. They’re alcohol-free, so the disinfecting solution doesn’t quickly evaporate. That means it stays active on surfaces longer to provide more protection than normal wipes. And before the pandemic, its Travel Pack was featured on Fox News as being among the best ways to disinfect surfaces when you’re away from home.
All high-touch areas in your office should be disinfected at least once a day. These include light switches, desk phones, keyboards, chair arms, pens/pencils, doorknobs and any binders or folders that get passed around.
Another option is to use SONO Disinfecting Spray. Its hydrogen peroxide-based formula cleans and deodorizes in one easy step while also killing tough germs like Norovirus and the new SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) virus. It contains no abrasives or harsh chemicals, so it’s safe to use on most non-porous surfaces and can be used everywhere from homes to gyms to offices.
Don’t completely let your guard down after being vaccinated
While it may seem like you don’t need to worry after being vaccinated, it’s best to still be cautious. No one knows what will come from the covid variants that are emerging, and it’s important to not forget about the other germs that get passed around.
One benefit from so many people working from home last year was the mild flu season we experienced. It was almost nonexistent compared to previous years. Instead of just going back to business as usual, be mindful of how germs spread and keep wearing a mask when it makes sense to do so. There’s no reason to push the limits of your vaccine’s protective abilities. Use a layered defense to stay healthy, which should help reduce any anxiety you’re experiencing.
Keep hand sanitizing wipes ready to use each time you leave a meeting, sit down at your desk and before you leave for the day. Good hand hygiene, along with not touching your face, are among the best ways to avoid being susceptible to the flu and other viruses.
Don’t isolate yourself at your desk
After keeping a safe distance between yourself and everyone else for more than a year, it can be difficult to start feeling comfortable in groups again. However, that doesn’t mean you can hide in your office until you retire. In most states, everyone is still being advised to wear a mask when you’re indoors with others. After being vaccinated, that level of protection should be more than enough to stay safe. Just remember to carry your own hand sanitizing wipes and disinfect the surfaces you frequently touch.
Staying isolated won’t improve your mood, either. Lots of workers have said they feel like they’re being left out of important office conversations by staying home. Networking is hard to do from home.
While it may be possible to lock yourself away at your desk, take small steps to visit with your coworkers on your own terms. So if you’re comfortable having lunch outside with someone, invite a coworker or two to come along. With time, you’ll start feeling more comfortable in groups and meetings. Until then, being mindful of what you touch. Practicing a good disinfection routine will help set your mind at ease.
Don’t think you’re the only one who feels odd being back
Adapting to change is never easy, especially if you feel some anxiety. Chances are good your coworkers are feeling awkward as well. Even if some of them have been in the office the entire time, they were most likely there alone. No one, not even them, knows what the new social dynamic will be in the office.
Everyone also has different views on mask wearing and social distancing. Some people you meet may want to shake hands. Others won’t. And since children haven’t started being vaccinated yet, there will be parents who never remove their masks to protect them. At first, it may be challenging to learn where each person stands on the level of precautions they’re taking. Just remember you’re all navigating the social aspects of returning to the office together. Eventually, you’ll all get into sync and things won’t seem so weird.
Why You Can Trust SONO
SONO Healthcare is registered with the EPA and FDA to manufacture hand sanitizing wipes, disinfecting wipes and disinfectant spray. Developed with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry and exclusively manufactured in the USA, its hospital-grade product line is second to none in quality, efficacy, and material compatibility. All of its disinfectants are recognized as an effective solution against SARS-CoV-2 by the United States EPA and the Center for Biocide Chemistries. Additionally, all of its hand sanitizers have been developed with a cutting-edge, science-backed team of chemists who have been innovating for decades. Rest assured, you're safe with SONO.