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Back to Work - Stay in Your Corner, Face The Walls, Do Not Talk

As offices around the country start to reopen again, many things look very different: Goodbye open floor plans and communal desks, hello Plexiglas dividers, face masks and facing the corner.

To mitigate risks, "elevator experts" (we have no idea who they are) stress, those riding elevators should wear masks, resist touching surfaces as much as possible and use items such as disposable tissues or, indeed, those toothpicks to touch the buttons. Also, use hand sanitizer frequently. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommends limiting time in elevators and taking one-directional stairs instead, when possible, as well as maintaining 6 feet of distance.

An elevator is oftentimes not an environment you can stand far away from people, if they’re looking at you and speaking to you, or if they cough, you’re going to get this very high concentration of droplets, even over a short time period.

It’s most important to minimize exposure to other people in the car. That means passenger limits, masks, no talking, and facing away from each other, which could make for some awkward moments.

A case study of a large outbreak at a call center in South Korea found 94 of the 97 cases of COVID-19 were linked to a single floor of the building where the index patient worked, despite workers having frequent contact in elevators and the lobby.

But the biggest hang-up across city skylines for offices and residences may be the recommendation "elevator experts" to limit the number of riders to four to accommodate social distancing for most elevator rides — one in each corner. That creates a logistical challenge for building managers and employers who have thousands of people to move within a single building.

The simple solution, do not enter large building, do not live in high-rise apartments and avoid big cities. Ask you landlord for discounts on the amenities, you shouldn’t have to pay for communal amenities you’re not able to use. 

Harsh realities are emerging of how challenging it will be to move the workforce where it needs to be. 

Does your work force really need to be in the office?

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