Home covid-19 COVID-19: How the virus spreads at the workplace (offices)

COVID-19: How the virus spreads at the workplace (offices)


If even a single surface is compromised, a virus can infect the majority of a workplace in a matter of hours.

Around the world, millions of people have abandoned their offices – as governments mandate that employees work from home. These measures are an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus; workers are deemed safer isolated in their homes, and getting out of crowded offices can slow the spread of Covid-19.

Banning work in centralised offices isn’t just a precaution – offices have been, and are, prime sites for the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Researchers have shown that bugs, germs, viruses and bacteria spread easily in an office.

“People spend a large amount of their daily life in the confines of the office where shared spaces and high interaction with shared surfaces increases the amount of microbes on surfaces and in the air,” one researcher says.

In other words, many of the high-touch areas in your office could be vectors for the spread of virus. And the more colleagues that touch them, the higher the risk of contamination.

Poor hygiene from office workers can exacerbate to this, too: a 2019  survey showed that only 61% of office workers washed their hands properly with warm water and soap after going to the toilet.

“The virus cannot spontaneously grow in your home. It must be brought in by an infected human,” says Khan. That means coming in contact with someone who is sick or touching an infected surface, then transferring it to your surfaces at home.

Even if the virus is on your hands, you have to somehow bring it in to your body to get sick

Remember, however, that the only way viruses grow are within bodies, which means you have to bring the germs into your body – often via touching your face – in order to get sick. This goes for coronaviruses, including Covid-19: even if the virus is on your hands, you have to somehow bring it in.

That’s why it’s so important that, no matter whether you’re working in a shared office or at home, you need to prioritise sanitisation.

Of course, there will be fewer high-touch surfaces in your own home and no colleagues to touch them. But if the germs enter your environment, you can contract the virus regardless.

Hence, it’s a good idea – no, a great one – to keep washing your hands no matter what.


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