After almost two years of working from home, it’s finally time to return to the office. But not everyone is rushing back to the office. In fact, 90% of Australians want to keep working from home in some capacity, making it hard for managers to entice their workers back to the office. Common reasons for not wanting to return to the office include long commutes, reduced flexibility and the risk of catching COVID-19.
The global pandemic has forced us to rethink the meaning of working safely and is making us consider things like air quality and transmission. How are managers meant to recreate a safe workplace for their employees who are returning to the office?
Check the government legislation
Regardless of the size or type of your industry, a lot of managers and business owners are either lost or confused with finding the correct information to make their workplace COVID-safe. The best thing to do is follow the advice on government websites which is backed by reputable science and the advice of public health experts.
Invest in air purifiers
Investing in air purifiers is the best way to improve the air quality of your workplace. HEPA-grade air purifiers not only turn over the air but the filters are excellent at removing 99.7% of particles including dust, pollen, bacteria, mould, pollutants and even small viruses like COVID-19 all of which can be transmitted through the air.
There is a range of Aeris purifiers available to suit workplaces of all shapes and sizes. There is even a medical-grade one for healthcare workers. The units are affordable and portable, allowing you to position them the areas of your workplace with the most traffic or poorest ventilation.
In standard offices which work business hours, it is not necessary to run the purifier 24/7. The best thing to do, is to turn it on approximately 30 minutes before most of your staff arrive. The unit can be switched off when the last person leaves at the end of the day. Saving you money on power costs and the extending the life of the filter.
Investigate your workplaces ventilation
To further reduce the risk of airborne transmission is to assess the ventilation of your workplace.
If possible, the opening of doors and windows to allow fresh air in from outside can naturally ventilate the room. Diluting the amount of particles in the air and blowing them away with the current. Whilst natural ventilation is the cheapest option, it is not viable for all workplaces or buildings due to the weather or quality reasons.
Another option is to investigate the effectiveness of your HVAC system and ensure the system is constantly turning over the air.
Encourage hybrid working to maintain density limits
This is a win-win situation for both you and your employees. Surveys are showing that in 2022, employees are opting for hybrid-working environments. Hybrid working can improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
Hybrid working is also great for social distancing measures and density limits in small workplaces. If less people are attending the office at any one time, the reduced risk of airborne transmission in your workplace. Devise a roster or come to an agreement with your employees about the expectations and number of days they will be attending the office.
Make RAT testing available for your employees
Like most schools and front-line workers, RAT tests are now readily available for employers to provide to their employees. RAT tests can be performed anywhere and require a nasal sample, it takes less than 20 minutes to produce a result.
Make PPE readily available for your employees
This one may vary greatly depending on your workplaces risk profile but as a minimum it is best to always have a box of masks available for employee use. Surgical masks are a cheap yet effective way of preventing airborne transmission which in turn, reduces the stress and workload of the air purifiers.
Empathy and compassion
Most of all, try to be understanding your employee’s needs. A lot of employee needs and expectations have changed since 2020. You may find the ones who opt for working from home more may have reasons completely unrelated to work, like carers responsibilities or chronic illness.
Encourage open communication with a focus on wellbeing, inclusion and mental health. If you workers are capable of meeting their full requirements by working from home, forcing them back to the office 100% of the time may see some of them looking elsewhere for work.
- Air purification is the best way to remove particles that can cause airborne transmission from your workplace.
- A combination of air purification and mechanical ventilation is best.
- Hybrid working is a great way to reduce density limits but more so, keep your employees satisfied.
Regardless of the size of your workplace, we should all focus on quality air filtration in the best interest of everyone’s health.
Westlab are the exclusive distributor for Swiss-designed and engineered Aeris Aair Range,To purchase an Aeris Aair filter or a wide range of medical products, contact Westlab today.