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Contributed By Sunline Supply

Open office layouts, communal equipment, and unrestricted air flow have become critical concerns for companies returning their employees to in-person work. Though increased vaccination rates and reduced occurrences of infection have helped to reach this point, comfort levels and liability remain uncertain. But with thorough planning for a return-to-work strategy that includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizing supplies, companies can better support productivity by prioritizing employee well-being.

“In a lot of ways, it feels like we’re in the home stretch with the pandemic, but there’s no room to make assumptions when it comes to safety,” said Jordan Berkowitz, president of leading Sunline Supply, a distributor of PPE. “Companies should be prepared that there will likely be a new normal as we enter the post-pandemic world and that taking a proactive approach to employee protection will continue to be an essential part of boosting work outcomes.”

Berkowitz recommends companies focus on the following six areas when developing a PPE and sanitizing plan to support employees returning to work:

1. High-quality Masks

Companies will need to address employee protection on the individual level as well as an organizational one to continue minimizing COVID-19 and other illnesses. Providing high quality, FDA-approved PPE, like masks and shields, helps directly reduce viral transmission onsite and also offers peace of mind to both employees and customers.  

2. Disposable Gloves 

Companies in medical, food service, automotive, beauty and dental fields have had direct needs for gloves in the workplace for years, but this last year has shown how widespread protection needs across industries truly are. Single-use gloves offer a variety of options for barriers to germs and chemicals, allowing employees to feel safer in shared, high-contact areas, such as office kitchens and break rooms.

3. Personal Sanitizing Supplies

Whether minimizing COVID-19 or annual cold and flu germs, providing resources for employees, such as hand sanitizing stations, can help them to keep their hands and personal spaces clean throughout the day. The combination of consistent cleaning and PPE usage can lead to a safer environment.

4. Better Use Of Space

Standards for air flow, occupancy, distancing and more mean companies will likely need to reassess office layouts to differently maximize workspaces for employee safety. Using existing desk structures separated by dividers or panels (least effective), full-wall cubicles (moderately effective), or floor-to-ceiling offices (most effective) are the three standout modifications companies are using to restructure their current offices. 

5. Professional Cleaning Services

Though vacuuming and trash removal have long been part of office cleaning routines, the pandemic has made regular sanitizing and disinfecting essential as well. When it comes to keeping workspaces clean, hard surfaces are easier to treat and manage, but proper preparation and cleaning, like electrostatic spray cleanings designed to reach and trap more contaminants, can keep all surfaces in the environment safer. 

6. Good Communication

Having planned a company-wide protection strategy and procured high-quality PPE resources, alerting employees and customers to new policies is an important part of the process.  Effective communication will not only help people feel more comfortable that the company is addressing ongoing pandemic needs, but will also encourage them to participate in the communal effort.    

Notes Berkowitz, “as more teams are transitioning back to offices, PPE strategies are something we can’t ignore.  Helping to protect people is our company’s highest priority, so we want to make sure other companies are prepared to meet their individual protection needs as well.”