When you return to the office, you should commute alone, undergo a daily temperature screening and communicate to your colleagues and visitors through a transparent shield when it’s not possible to stay six feet apart, according to new recommendations released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nation’s top public health agency offered detailed technical, engineering and administrative advice for how workers should limit their exposure to the infectious coronavirus disease in enclosed spaces. The goal is to “isolate workers from the hazard,” as the CDC put it.
Say goodbye to water coolers and shared public transportation. Say hello to temperature checks and cloth masks.
The recommendations include:
- Employees should have daily, in-person screenings for their temperature or coronavirus symptoms before they enter the workplace.
- To maintain social distance, employers need to modify furniture and install transparent shields or other physical barriers when social distancing isn’t possible.
- Employers should bid farewell to water coolers, coffee pots, office snack dispensers and other high-touch communal kitchen offerings and replace many snacks with “pre-packaged, single-serving items.”
- Employers should forgo hugs, handshaking and fist bumps.
- Offices need to improve ventilation by increasing the percentage of outdoor air and opening windows if it is possible and safe to do so.
- Employees need to wear cloth masks while doing business.
- Offices need to limit the occupancy of elevators so that people can maintain social distances of at least six feet.
Some of the public health advice is familiar at this point: The CDC recommends office workers wash hands often with soap and water, particularly after a commuting trip.
To better maintain social distancing, the CDC recommends staggering shifts, start times and break times, which is similar to what advocates of flexible, shorter workweeks already have urged employers to...