Reducing coronavirus transmission rates – we can all do our bit at work

With winter approaching, Jonathan Ratcliffe offers advice on reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our recruitment businesses.

It is reported that 91% of all Covid-19 patients were infected indoors. Let that sink in. The chance of becoming infected with coronavirus will most likely happen indoors. So this winter, we are all at much greater risk of transmitting and spreading it.

There are some simple things we can do to reduce risk of transmission and it all comes down to common sense. It is all about being aware that every time we touch something or breathe near someone we are at risk. Changing small habits in the office – and beyond – can reduce your risk massively.

Wash hands
We all know the mantra but making it easy for staff to clean their hands as part of their daily duties means the habit will only increase. Sanitiser at door entrances, soap in bathrooms and kitchens, and smaller sanitiser bottles on desks all encourage a clean workspace. Reward employees for good habits.

Open windows
Regular ‘shock ventilation’ is recommended to change out air in rooms. This means opening windows and doors on a regular basis to allow stale air to be changed for fresh.

In an office or workplace this can be tricky, but the concept is clear – the more air you extract and replace with fresh, the healthier the air. This is a habit we all need to be better at, because even in post-Covid years ahead (yes, they do exist!) we can all reduce the number of sick days by sticking to a clean air regime. 

The German word Stosslüften means “shock ventilation” and is basically the process of opening windows and doors to allow stale air out and fresh air in – and it is this simple process that can have a dramatic effect on the transmission rates of the virus in our homes, schools, offices and shops. Many will have seen it across Europe on holiday, where locals open all their windows in the morning to allow stale air out and fresh air in.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reported last week that good ventilation practices “may be one of the cheapest and most effective ways” of containing the spread of the virus. Adding weight to reports that 90% of Covid-19 patients contracted the virus indoors.

If you are in smaller offices and workplaces where you can open doors to the outside, do so regularly.

If you are in large offices and workplaces where you cannot open windows, speak with your HVAC contractor, and make sure the systems are tested and working properly.

Isolate, even at work
Keeping yourself to yourself is a key method in reducing exposure to Covid-19. People at work do a variety of different jobs and it’s not always easy to do, but by using plexiglass dividers, clean air routine and moving around less, we can reduce the chances of the virus being moved around.

Wear a mask, everywhere
The last point is controversial – and people won’t like it, but by wearing a mask every time you are in close contact with other people, then the transmission risk goes down. This has been proven on a national scale to work, and hence why wearing a mask is now mandatory in many shops and businesses.

If everyone can reduce their ability to transmit the virus just a little bit, we can all help bring down the changes of passing it around – and prolonging pandemic.

Jonathan Ratcliffe runs a National Air Conditioning contractor with offices in Manchester and London. He is a champion of the health benefits of fresh air – not only at work using systems to clean air, but also using sport and exercise to benefit your mental health.

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