According to the research, COVID-19 is easily transmitted through exchange of micro droplets either through breathing, speaking or sneezing. Research has also shown that these droplets can stay in the air for up to 3 hours therefore the most effective way to reduce the risk of infection is social distancing (WHO recommends at least a distance of six feet / 1.8m between persons). In the case where this distance cannot be maintained due to limited space it is necessary to look for other options that are as effective. One of the options to look into, is the use of masks.
The Health and Safety Laboratory found out that cloth masks reduce the number of transmitted micro droplets by 50% whereas surgical masks can reduce the number droplets by 80%. A further option is to maintain complete distance and work from home however this has productivity and mental health consequences. The third option is to introduce shields between people.
Limitations of surgical masks
Despite the fact that surgical masks are able to reduce the number dispensed micro droplets into the air they are not able to eliminate these droplets completely especially in closed spaces with poor ventilation. In other words even with masks and a distance of 2 meters, the risk of transmission is still imminent in closed spaces such as an office or restaurant.
Limitations of working from home
Sending employees to work from home could be another option to help reduce exposure to the virus, however it might affect the efficiency and productivity of a business. Below is a list of disadvantages of working from home.
- Working from home is not favorable to everyone – employees living with their families or roommates face the challenge of trying to be productive while trying not get distracted by what could be happening in the house.
- Working remotely hurt social capital and could potentially slow innovation – social capital creates trust and fuels innovation. Working from home also decreases networking and mentorship opportunity.
- Home office increases the risk to employee safety and corporate security – employees are exposed to risks such as poor lighting, bad ergonomics that could harm their health in the long run. Another huge risk that could harm the company is data security breach and loss.
- Collaboration with other employees will be affected greatly – generative collaboration which involves creating new ideas and solving complex problems which usually takes a lot of time will be difficult to do online.
Desk shields as additional barrier to reduce the risk of infections
With no vaccine in the way yet, the society is forced to live with the COVID-19 danger over an extended period of time, therefore we need to put with the necessary infrastructure to reduce infections as a long term measure more so where people are seated closely to each other in closed spaces such as restaurants, schools and offices.
In WHO’s latest interim guidance, it advices to “Use physical barriers to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus such as glass or plastic window”.
The Center of Disease Control and prevention equally recommends to “Place a barrier e.g. sneeze guard between employees and customers”.
An essential part of planning to get staff back to work, means retrofitting the workplace, based on a common sense approach that adheres to governmental and global health guidelines, including physical distancing, adding barriers, cleaning and safety measures.
With that in mind, Victoria Furnitures has developed a range of Desk Shields. Desk Shields are easy to integrate into existing desks and provide the desired level of protection with different applications.
Clear desk shields also provide a clean and well lit – trendy office setting apart from the regular wooden or padded partitioning. They are easy to maintain (Cleaning by wiping with regular detergent and cloth)
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