Like most businesses, our law office has been operating remotely since March. Our sophisticated technology and resources have allowed us to advance our cases during these challenging times. States are beginning to loosen restrictions on businesses. We expect the mayor of DC and the governors of Maryland and Virginia will soon—perhaps in a month or so—permit a more robust return to work in the Metro area. While we would love to see the late spring / early summer activity we have been historically used to, science tells us that we need to plan for a “new normal,” at least until an effective vaccine is widely available. And that likely won’t be until the spring of 2021, or later.
I don’t expect employers to have adequate (by volume and efficiency) test-kits anytime soon. So, how can we best protect ourselves, our employees, and our clients/customers when our doors are once again open? Here are some ideas:
Don’t enter an elevator unless you are the only person in it;
Place taped markers on the floor of your office space to keep pedestrians sufficiently distant from each other;
Require all employees to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and make it mandatory before touching anything in a common area or a device that is shared;
Have sanitizers dispersed throughout the office (I realize that sanitizers are hard to come by these days, but that will change);
Wear face-masks every time you move about the office in common areas (ie, outside of your own office or cubicle);
Conduct remote meetings whenever possible, as opposed to gathering in a single conference room or other space;
If forced to be in a shared space, keep a safe distance;
Sanitize your work-station twice per day (before you use it and at the end of the day);
Regularly take your temperature;
Stagger the days your employees work in the office to avoid crowding;
Speak to your office property manager to ensure that proper air filtration is utilized;
Encourage employees to avoid mass transportation;
Limit interaction with anyone outside of the firm/business;
Bring food from home for lunch/snacks;
If forced to food into the office from a store or restaurant, utilize smart practices to minimize chance of infection (discard all bags before entering office, go straight to kitchen to wash your hands, microwave foods until they steam, and wipe down all areas you and the food packaging touched with disinfectant or soap and water); and, of course,
Please stay at home and contact your physician whenever experiencing even a mild symptom.
I pine for the times when we can have barbeques together, enjoy a fun night out to dinner, participate in sports and other outdoor activities, and so much more. Now, though, we need to care for each through sacrifice. If we don’t, we may cause others or ourselves to miss out on a lifetime of joys. We’ll get through this crisis, for sure. How fast we get through it depends on how much we are willing to work as a team.
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