COVID-19: Tips to avoid infection risk when working from the Office

21 May 2020


he Covid-19 Pandemic has now seen more than 5 million cases reported globally as of today. The Kenyan situation also demonstrates a progressive rise in total recorded cases.

The concerted control measures will need to continue even as most UN personnel continue to work from home to limit exposure. Even though most UN personnel are currently working from home,

Some offices have found it necessary to have their personnel visit the office from time to time in order to conduct critical activities that require physical presence.

Additionally, there is a growing medical consensus on the need to plan for a phased, safe return to the office.

Most COVID-19 prevention measures are applicable both within and outside of the office environment. We should bear this in mind during the occasional Office visit so as to avoid letting

our guard down when we are in familiar spaces like our office desks or corridor.

As we now know, COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplet transmission and hand contact with contaminated surfaces. Hand contamination then leads to spread of infection through the

eyes, nose or mouth. In order to interrupt these modes of spread, we need to remember the following:

Apply Droplet Precautions

  • A physical distance of 2m or more must be maintained when interacting with other persons- even while working at the office.

This will limit the risk of virus loaded droplets causing an infection in an individual not maintaining this social/physical distance.

  • A Facemask or face covering should be worn anytime we are in a public space. Indeed, wearing of face masks or face covering in public places remains a mandatory public health requirement in Kenya.

Wearing a face mask is also prudent in an office setting where the nature of work requires close proximity with colleagues or clients. Examples of such activities include medical consultations,

security screening and verification of vendor deliveries.

  • Practice cough and sneezing etiquette while at the office.
  • Ensure adequate air circulation in the office environment or in any enclosed location with multiple persons. This is because poor air circulation permits viral particles to remain suspended

in the air for longer thus increasing the risk of inhalation by other persons.

Apply Hand Hygiene Precautions

  • Our hands continually come into contact with many surfaces and pick up multiple pathogens which may include the COVID-19 virus.
  • Consistent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alternate use of alcohol-based sanitizer will eliminate COVID-19 virus contamination.

The Office environment should therefore have a regular supply of hand-sanitizer bottles which should be replenished with new supply when nearing completion.

  • Even where there is an established system of regular cleaning and decontamination, it is prudent to limit contact with frequently touched surfaces like stairways and guard rails.
  • Where possible, doors should be left open to avoid the constant need for contact when accessing office spaces.

Transport to work:

In the current environment, we advise that persons visiting the Office should avoid public transportation as much as possible particularly where there is a challenge in observing the recommended 2m physical distancing.

Stay at home if unwell:

We recommend that UN personnel should avoid coming to the office while they are unwell with suspected COVID-19 symptoms or other illness. JMS should be contacted in such situations

for appropriate guidance and support. If you have a thermometer, you can quickly check your temperature to see if you have a fever (>37.5OC).You should report this and any other concerning symptoms to JMS

on the 24/7 Cell number: 0724 255 378.

Keep Safe and Healthy!

JMS 24/7 emergency call line: Tel: +254 724 255 378 OR


Staff counseling service: Tel: +254 728 961 939 or + 254 793 484 333

Useful Links: WHO- Coping with stress during COVID-19 ; WHO-COVID-19 ; JMS website ; F.A.Q's

Posted on: 21 May 2020