“Bringing your work home with you” can have very literal implications for essential workers and their families in the wake of COVID-19. The simple caution to maintain a separation between work and personal life is compounded as the current pandemic elevates concerns beyond just typical wellness to potentially life-threatening impacts.
Each day an essential worker reports to his or her job and then returns home carrying new potential risks for the novel coronavirus.
Putting into practice essential protective measures every day can minimize these risks and help safeguard employees and their homes.
Store and Restore
While at work, store personal items, including your cell phone, in a desk drawer, locker, or break room. This helps eliminate exposure to other people, thus reducing contamination. Disinfect your phone often, and practice washing your hands before touching it.
Before entering your home, empty your pockets and consider leaving unnecessary items in your car. Discard disposable protective gear. Items such as wallets, purses, and keys that you need to bring inside should be disinfected immediately upon or before entry.
Go the Distance
In addition to staying 6 feet from others at work, continue social distancing during initial moments after arriving home. Before approaching family members or sitting down, wash your hands and sanitize anything you’ve touched (doorknob, countertop, etc.). Remove clothing worn at work and leave it in the laundry room or a basket for the self-service laundry.
Wash, Wash, Wash
While at home, encourage your family to join you in adopting an extra-clean routine.
- Wash hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds.
- Take a hot shower or bath with adequate soap and shampoo.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
While at work, wash your hands often when coming into contact with high-touch surfaces such as bathrooms, door handles, and elevators.
Make and Break
Make time to rest and give yourself a break from thinking about work and the pandemic. Consider taking a walk, listening to music, reading a book, or talking with a friend. Taking a break from media overage may also be necessary to completely disconnect.
Get Back to Basics
Challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic can negatively affect daily habits and result in health issues. Be sure to eat, drink, and sleep regularly to strengthen the immune system and promote overall wellness.
Check Your Health
Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, do not go to work and begin to self-quarantine at home. Contact your health care provider if you have questions about being tested. If you don’t have a health care provider or need additional information, contact the Alabama COVID-19 24-7 hotline at (1-888) 264-2256. In case of emergency symptoms such as trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
With all the emphasis on social distancing, don’t resort to emotional distancing. With safety precautions in place, family time and new or renewed traditions at home or across technology can be essential components in weathering the pandemic.