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Numerous states across the US have begun to lift their restrictions pertaining to the spread of COVID-19 since the middle of the summer, and we can’t lie, it’s been nice to get a taste of what our old lives used to be like. With restaurants and stores reopening at limited capacities and offices finally lifting their work from home orders, it seems we’ve never been more excited about the day-to-day normalcies and mundanities we live through — especially those extra boring moments at our work desks. Boy, are we excited to be going back.
As we trickle into the office, it’s incredibly important we keep the knowledge that coronavirus is still running rampant across our country, and, well, the world. Although yes, at times it feels like we aren’t even amidst a global pandemic, we have to remember that we still are and it’s likely nowhere near over. Especially as colder weather approaches and the world is preparing for a flu season like no other, we need to anticipate the worst even if we miss the normal, otherwise humdrum moments in our lives.
That being said, if you’re headed back into the office, you need to do so with caution. There are some new issues that you’re going to need as well as keep in mind that will add a little more effort (and potential stress) in your day to day.
Our normal has changed and that’s something we have to live with. Some might find these tips rather annoying, but it’s for your own good. And, well, the good of others, too. It isn’t always about you because you’re not the main character. Nobody’s the main character. If you’re the type to scoff at any of these new protocols when heading back into the office, you need to remember it is for the greater good. Don’t be an idiot.
Without further ado and to conclude our tiny rant, here’s what you have to keep in mind when heading back into the office:
1. Wear a Mask
While it seems like a given at this point, we just have to reiterate. Wear. Your. Damn. Mask. We don’t care if it makes you “have trouble breathing” or if it’s causing you to “break out.” In order to keep yourself and others safe when going out in public, you’re going to need to throw a mask on. Most offices across the country won’t even allow you access to enter the building without one. Think about it, you don’t want to be the reason for the entire building to shut down yet again, so mask on up, and start that commute.
2. Constantly Sanitize Your Hands
As winter approaches, don’t stop sanitizing your hands. We understand that it’s going to cause excessive dryness as it gets a bit colder, so we suggest keeping some lotion at your desk for when after sanitizing. Don’t feel the need to sanitize every five seconds, but every time you finish your commute and get back to your desk from anywhere in the office should suffice. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands as much as you can while inside the office. There’s nothing like some good ‘ole germ killin’ throughout the day.
Finding hand sanitizer at the beginning of all of this was like discovering water on the sun. It simply wasn’t going to happen. Luckily, now, numerous brand new hand sanitization brands have popped up from the woodwork, so you’ll have no issue finding one right for you.
3. Keep Sanitizing Wipes at Your Desk
Try to wipe down your desk, keyboard and arms on your chair at least twice a day at work. This will keep germs in check and help you feel more at ease when sitting for long periods of time. If you’re eating lunch in your office’s cafeteria, remember to wipe down your seat and eating area before and after your meal. Some may find this a tad wasteful and we understand that, but it’s needed right now.
We’re not going to lie, sanitization wipes are still pretty tricky to find anywhere right now. If you have a plug at your local grocery store, have them hide some behind the Raisin Bran. Nobody buys Raisin Bran.
4. Try Keeping a Distance on Your Mode of Transportation
For those of you who get to drive to work, consider yourself lucky. A lot of us living in cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago have to use alternate means of transportation to get to and from our office buildings, like buses, trains and cabs. These otherwise convenient modes of transportation are acting more like a death trap right now because the ability for germs to lock in and load themselves in your general vicinity is highly possible. That being said, if it’s possible, keep as far of a distance as you can when on a bus or train.
To give yourself some extra space, we definitely recommend snagging a clear face shield to give yourself some extra space between your mask and others.
5. Wall Up Your Cubicle
If your office isn’t already doing it for you, we suggest walling up your cubicle for the time being to keep the air in your breathing space feeling contained. We suggest using old cardboard boxes or poster boards with duck tape to half-ass it for now, until your office gets the hint that maybe they should do something about it themselves. If you have any Amazon boxes laying around the office, that’ll do the trick. It won’t look the prettiest, but hey, it might bring a little peace of mind.
If you’re trying to make your “Great Wall of the Office” prettier than everyone else’s, get yourself some poster paper and crayons and make some snazzy decor.
6. Lastly, If You’re Feeling Sick, Don’t Go
Cough? Don’t go to work. Stomachache? Don’t go to work. Headache? Don’t go to work. Runny nose? Don’t go to work. Any trivial ache or pain you worked through at the office back in the day is not worth the risk of going into the office. Given the number of people you see on your commute, the street and then in your physical workplace is not worth the possibility of making anybody else sick, even if you think it’s just allergies. You’ve been working from home since March at this point, so you know you can do it. Your boss won’t care if you take a couple of days working from your WFH desk again while a tad under the weather.
To prevent getting sick, take a few Airbornes every once in a while. Some even choose to take one every day. We suggest that if you’re thinking about taking one, just take one.