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How we're protecting our team from COVID-19 back in the office

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Like so many others, the HLM team has been sheltering in place and working from home. While we were able to keep the wheels of health literacy spinning from the safety of our homes, we know that many others didn’t have that option.

A huge THANK YOU to all the essential workers: The doctors, nurses, retail workers, delivery drivers, and the many others working tirelessly during this pandemic to help keep everyone safe (and fed!). We see you, and we are grateful.

Many states are beginning to announce that they are loosening restrictions and allowing businesses to open back up. And while it’s exciting to get out of the house again, it’s still a good idea to take precautions against COVID-19. Staying home has helped us “flatten the curve” and saved lives, but it did not eliminate the virus. Until there’s a vaccine, COVID-19 will unfortunately be part of our daily lives (to learn why, check out this Forbes article).

If your company offers you the possibility to work from home – use it! It’s still best to avoid close contact with people you don’t live with, especially large groups, for a while longer. You’ve probably heard this called “social distancing.”

If you do have to go back to work, here’s how to protect yourself and others:

  • Put distance between yourself and others. We call it “Six feet for safety!” It means staying 6 feet away from everyone you don’t live with – imagine you and the other person are standing on opposite sides of a car. In an office setting, this could mean rearranging furniture in shared office spaces or conference rooms to allow people to keep 6 feet apart.

  • If possible, keep meetings virtual. Instead of meeting in person, try a video call or conference call to connect with coworkers and clients.

  • Keep your workspace clean by wiping down surfaces with antibacterial cleaning products.

  • Talk to your coworkers about how to keep shared equipment, such as copiers or the break room fridge, clean and sanitized. One suggestion is to keep a box of disinfectant wipes nearby and ask each person to wipe down equipment after they used it.

  • If you take a bus or train to work, try to find a spot with some air circulation, such as an open window. Avoid touching surfaces and wash your hands as soon as you can after getting off.

  • Consider wearing a face mask where you have to come into contact with others. If you don’t have disposable masks, it’s easy to make your own cloth face mask using fabrics at home, such as a cotton sheet or t-shirt.

  • Wash your hands often, and especially after touching surfaces many other people touch – think door handles, countertops, elevator buttons. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it right. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your face when you’re in a public place. That way, the virus can’t get from your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes and make you sick.

  • If you can, avoid the elevator altogether and take the stairs – it’s a great workout. Just make sure to wash your hands after touching the railing.

  • Feel like ordering in for lunch or getting takeout? Go for it! To be safe, wipe down containers or take the food out, place it in a clean dish and throw the container away. Wash your hands and enjoy your meal! P.S.: While sharing is caring, it’s best not to share food or containers with coworkers.

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, or do it into your sleeve.

And, of course, stay home if you’re feeling sick! If you think you may have COVID-19, here’s what you can do. Remember that it’s possible to be sick and not have any symptoms, so following the tips above at all times not only protects you, but everyone around you as well.

For more info and tips, check out these resources:


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