Many countries are already on a nationwide lockdown with only essential services in operation, however for workers considered to be essential, self-isolation is not an option.
While all the authorities are recommending self-isolation as a precautionary measure to halt the spread of COVID-19, we know that is not always realistic.
While one can’t deny the effectiveness of self-isolation to help halt the spread of the pandemic, in some cases, remaining in isolation in your home is just not an option.
One good example of someone who would not be able to self-isolate is healthcare personnel and first responders.
These people still need to go to work to try to take care of people and manage the crisis.
In almost all cases, these are medical professionals who know what to do to stay safe.
However, as we have seen, shortages of masks, gowns and other protective gear is a problem for them.
Thus, while they know what they need to do to protect themselves, we have many of them who are dying because they cannot protect themselves properly at work.
Self-Isolation Is Not An Option For Many Blue Collar Workers
A bigger problem arises when other people who do not work in health care have to go to work because the companies they are employed at are not shutting down.
This group of people generally are not aware of the risks and necessary precautions they should take.
Not to mention even if they are, many companies do not provide the correct protective gear or allow their employees to maintain a safe distance from one another.
However, during a pandemic like COVID-19, it is almost impossible to eliminate the risks.
The best thing these workers can do is proactively reduce their risks.
Here are some ideas on how to do that.
Avoid Public Transportation When Self-Isolation Is Not An Option
If you have your own vehicle, use it and avoid large carpools, buses, subways, taxis or other types of public transportation.
Now is not the time to be environmentally-conscious.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, use a bicycle or walk to work if at all possible.
If you must carpool, try to go in a vehicle with as few people as possible and make sure you trust them.
Everyone needs to be onboard when it comes to being cautious otherwise everyone in the carpool is sure to end up sick.
Mathematically speaking, carpooling is safer than taking a ride on a public bus or subway where the risks increase exponentially just because of the sheer numbers of people who rely on these types of transportation.
Wipe Down Your Workstation
When you get to work, immediately use a disinfectant spray to wipe your workstation at the start of every work day.
Use a mask if it makes you feel safe and don’t let others comments convince you to not wear it.
Avoid touching your face, and wash your hands regularly.
This is not paranoia.
It is a necessary measure at this time in order for you to stay healthy.
Office spaces are usually smaller enclosed areas with central heat or air conditioning.
This type of environment makes it easy for the virus to spread even if just one person has it.
Stay Home And Keep To Yourself
Now is not the time to hang out in groups with co-workers, family or friends.
Let people know that you are not being unfriendly.
You are just being cautious in order to protect yourself and your family.
While it won’t be easy, it is important to self-isolate when you are at work the best you can.
Avoid eating with others and it is best to eat at your own desk or at a table that is at least six feet away from co-workers.
Bring food from home instead of going out to pick up lunch or buying food from the vending machine.
The goal is to avoid crowds and people whenever possible plus limit touching things that the virus could be on.
COVID-19 has been proven to be contagious and the only way currently to stop the spread is to minimize contact between people.
Ask Your Boss To Let You Work From Home
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Speak to your boss and see if it is possible to work from home or come in to the office twice or three times a week.
This way, you can still get your job done while maintaining some form of isolation.
Stress that it is in everyone’s best interest to limit the number of people at work.
While this is not possible for those in the service industry, regular office workers should be able to perform their duties at home – or at least the majority of them.
Often it is the management that needs to shift its mindset and realize that isolation is necessary and what is in the best interest of their employees.
Shop Online Instead Of Going Out
If you do not need to go to work, you possibly only need to go out to get groceries, medication or check on an elderly loved one.
If possible, purchase most of your groceries online or at the very least take advantage of the drive-up or delivery service many grocery stores are offering right now.
Sometimes, you may see that items are sold out.
The website may change or cancel your order due to high demand but usually you are asked if it is ok to substitute an item.
If the order is cancelled, you will get a text, phone call or email letting you know this so you don’t end up going out needlessly.
If the items are out of stock or the order is cancelled, try placing the order again in a couple of hours or even a day or two later.
Once the inventory is replenished, your order will go through.
It is just a matter of being persistent and remember that going into the store to shop won’t change the inventory levels and exposes you to potential infection.
Most stores have now implemented quotas so that customers can’t hoard after realizing how quickly essentials such as toilet paper were being bought.
So, to make sure you can purchase the items you need, avoid going back for more on a daily basis just to stock up.
Now is not the time to start your survival pantry.
Shopping online will allow you to avoid breaking self-isolation and keep things relatively hassle free.
Even Is Self-Isolation Is Not An Option, It Is Important To Monitor Your Health
Last but not least, even if self-isolation is not an option, you must monitor your health.
Exercise indoors daily.
Try to lose weight and eliminate unhealthy habits like smoking or binging on unhealthy foods.
Now is the time to prioritize your health and orientate yourself towards a better lifestyle.
This COVID-19 pandemic will pass, but the positive habits you form now will serve you well for the rest of your life.