Insider News: COVID-19 changes to the workplace and beyond

In this week's Insider News, we're sharing stories on virtual work celebrations, how P.E. teachers are encouraging students to get exercise from home, and OSHA's latest guidelines on ensuring adequate ventilation to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Celebrating milestones and events is an important way for employees to connect and build strong  relationships, which is an important contributor to feeling engaged at work. While traditional office parties might be unrealistic right now, there are still ways to celebrate important life events, including:
  • Host themed happy hours or special events like trivia or pet meet and greets
  • Show appreciation with an e-gift card 
  • Make a charitable donation in their name for a cause that's important to them
  • Create a space to share praise and recognition for teammates
  • Celebrate small wins every day through informal communication channels like Slack, with different channels for trivia, hobbies, or friendly competitions

How P.E. teachers are trying to get students off the couch during the pandemic from EdSource

The transition to remote learning has been a difficult one, especially when it comes to physical education. With students spending more time indoors and in front of screens, it's especially important that they get some kind of virtual P.E. for both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Challenges to P.E. classes include not having enough space, indoor or outdoor, to exercise in, lacking equipment, and fears around liability if students are injured during home exercise.

To combat these challenges, P.E. teachers have had to get creative. In addition to encouraging students to go for jogs, walks, or bike rides, teachers are distributing basic equipment like jump-ropes, hula hoops, and more. Other alternatives include running up and down stairs, using soup cans or milk cartons as weights, and dancing to their favorite music. Talking to students about health and the benefits of exercise is also important to help kids understand the need for physical activity.

The US's workplace safety regulator just released guidance on how to ventilate offices to decrease the airborne spread of COVID-19 from Business Insider

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released guidance on how to properly ventilate office spaces to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 through airborne particles, in line with CDC research that indicates COVID-19 particles can travel longer distances in spaces with inadequate ventilation.

Guidelines include:

  • Ensure all HVAC systems are functional and have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rating of 13
  • Introduce fresh air by increasing the HVAC's outdoor intake and opening windows where possible
  • Keep exhaust fans running at maximum capacity in restrooms
  • And more included in the full document

Join our next community workshop: Ergonomics for Your Home Environment

Date: Thursday November 19, 2020 at 12 PM - 1 PM EST

Ergonomics is about improving your comfort, health and productivity with thoughtful workplace design. There are some small changes we can make as most of us are now working from home fulltime. Michelle Rex Murphy, OTR/L, CEAS, REAS, will show us how we can transform our space into a temporary office by using objects we have around our homes. Michelle has been practicing as an occupational therapist (OT) for over 19 years specializing in upper extremity injures, work related injuries, and ergonomics. 

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