At Career Contacts, we often write blogs based on the conversations we are having with hiring managers and candidates.
Top of mind for candidates going back into the office lately is around how to ensure they are keeping safe (and leadership is looking to ensure they are doing their part too).
This week, we wanted to share our top 5 most rewarding ways to stay safe in your office environment during the pandemic. Although they may seem like easy things to do, they hold a much deeper value than people may assume.
Remember to PLEASE stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how small!
This is by far the most important step when practicing safe living during this time. This will effectively flatten the curve as well as not only protect you, your loved ones and your bubble, but it also protects all those you may encounter! Think of it as you actively protecting so many people by simply being cautious. No matter how small or insignificant your symptoms may be, it is safer for us all if you stay home. Be sure to express your concern to your employer and bubble, and proceed to dedicate a few days to your health! In BC, we are fortunate to have easy access to testing should your medical advisor suggest it, we recommend taking their recommendations seriously. Get your necessary essentials delivered or dropped off by a member of your bubble and take your few days of quarantine with a peace of mind. After the lockdown, most roles are finding ways to function from home. If this isn’t possible, this is what sick days are for.
Splurge on a mask you LOVE!
It’s true, masks really do prevent the spread of COVID-19! While masks may not have been a common essential in our past, they most certainly are now. They are now required in most, if not all stores and businesses, and without wearing one you are putting yourself and your bubble at risk of exposure. You are more likely to remember, use and enjoy your facemask if you dedicate 20 minutes to surfing the web to find a design, fabric, or function of mask that suits your personal needs. A handpicked mask is also a great opportunity to support brands you love and show a bit of personality in a way we haven’t utilized before. Kick the disposable masks to the curb and spend a little extra on one you are happy wearing regularly! Whether it be in the elevators, to the coffee shop, or even to a team meeting, be sure to bring your reusable mask to all personal and work efforts outside your home (this will also actively prevent more single use waste entering our oceans and landfills!).
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to handle your masks appropriately and wash them as needed.
(spotted: A few of our HR Consultants, Pam and Reena, staying safe while on site)
Remain tidy and distanced while in office
When entering your office environment, be sure to check for symptoms prior to arriving and don’t forget your mask! As COVID-19 protocols are in full swing, this is a time to develop new personal habits and reminders in efforts to reduce the spread. Once entering the office, you must remember to sanitize and be aware of your surroundings. For example, if a coworker is in the common spaces, you should not be. Be sure to communicate to your co-workers that the friendliest thing they can do when communicating with you is ensuring their distance and practicing safe living at (and outside of) work. When communicating, be sure to emphasize your gratitude and be kind – these are hard times for everyone. In regard to your workspace, have your belongings close to you and away from others to avoid cross contaminating as well as have disinfectant wipes available nearby for all your equipment and materials for end of day sanitization.
PRO TIP: Minimize the materials and things you have surrounding you is a great way to eliminate potential contamination; it can reduce clutter which fosters organization and ultimately leaves you with more space and less stress!
Keep your bubble small and well connected
Your bubble; your people! These are your cheerleaders, loved ones and best friends. They are your chosen support system, and you are theirs. As this is an uncertain time for everyone in the world right now, it’s important that we each do our part to support one another the best way we can; through distancing. With fall, winter, and flu season in view, it is especially important to be practicing safe living. When organizing your bubble, it is important to remember that every individual, family, and household will be under different circumstances. For the people you live with such as immediate family, a partner or roommates, there is no need for any restrictions on physical contact.
When considering who you socialize with outside of your household, it is important to remember that the recommended size is six individuals per bubble. This is being called your “Safe Six” and means a group of six friends or extended family members that is consistently involved with one another. These individuals may breach the 2 meter physical distance however, no physical contact should be practiced to ensure safety to all parties. This is a great way to refocus on some people who hold a special place in your heart, or a guilt free excuse to minimize your surface level relationships and devote time to those you can count on for support throughout the pandemic.
Monitor your mental health
Last but certainly not least, please do not forget to monitor your mental health and advocate for yourself. COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on people worldwide and it is important to know you are not alone and there is support available to you from both your peers and the government. Be sure to indulge in some self-care, physical activity or a virtual happy hour with friends to ensure you are heard and supported in whichever way you may need. A hot bath, long walk and phone calls with loved ones can work wonders on your mindset! When creating your bubble it’s important to compile those you feel comfortable confiding in, so you may support one another when need be. It is okay to feel overwhelmed or anxious by the uncertainty the COVID-19 outbreak has created. It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and to take measures to support mental well-being.
Here are some resources that can assist with maintaining mental health in the workplace during this time.
- https://www.psychologists.bc.ca/covid-19-resources – COVID-19 Psychological First Aid Service: Information and Signup (British Columbia Psychological Association) – Free virtual counselling provided by registered psychologists.
- https://cmha.bc.ca/covid-19/ – COVID-19: Staying Well In Uncertain Times (Canadian Mental Health Association – B.C.) – Tips and information on how to reduce and manage anxiety in the workplace due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf – Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression (Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions) – Tips and resources on things we can do as individuals and collectively to deal with stress and support one another during these challenging times.
- https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf -Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak (World Health Organization) – These mental health considerations were developed by the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use as messages targeting different groups to support for mental and psychosocial well-being during COVID-19 outbreak.
- https://www.conferenceboard.ca/(X(1)S(r4ltmuqu1pifj4uw4itjteqt))/insights/covid-19?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 – Mental Health and COVID-19 (Conference Board of Canada) – Videos on different aspects of mental health, including coping with anxiety, job loss, and dealing with isolation.
- https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/mental-health.html – Taking Care of Your Mental Health (COVID-19) (Public Health Agency of Canada) – Tips and resources for taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you are an employer interested in learning more about how to ensure your office is a safe space for employees, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.