After months of pandemic-driven, makeshift home offices, and sometimes glitchy Zoom-style meetings, workers are leaving the safe confines of their homes and making their way back to their offices and cubicles. While businesses are gradually phasing employees back in their buildings, the environment will likely not be business as usual.

Business owners understand that their returning employees will have obvious concerns about working with other people after months of sheltering at home. They also understand the potential legal ramifications if one or more employees contract COVID-19 on their watch. Following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), countless employers have implemented dramatically new safety measures to account for the “new normal.”

Plexiglass Barriers

For many work environments that have space limitations, social distancing guidelines of six feet between people is not feasible. Physical barriers made from transparent plexiglass can serve as partitions that help reduce exposure to COVID-19 and any other type of virus. Recommended for various industries by the CDC and OSHA, the material is easily accessible and cleanable. Plexiglass can provide the protection that workers will need for the foreseeable future.

Masks

Governors in many states have imposed mask mandates while people are indoors. Even in states that have not required face coverings, employees should still wear masks while at their place of work. Exceptions exist, specifically when eating lunch. Social distancing is paramount during breaks and meals if workers are at the same cafeteria or breakroom table.

Hygiene

Washing hands and using hand sanitizer was likely already a routine during the early months of the pandemic. Workers should continue those habits. Additionally, frequent cleaning of their desk, chair, and other high-touch areas, including doorknobs or elevator buttons, with a sanitary wipe can provide further protection during what remains to be uncertain times.

While employers must be proactive in having health and sanitation protocols in place, efforts by workers can also go a long way to protect them, colleagues, and owners from contracting a serious and sometimes deadly virus.