Office safety is key for the success of your business and the happiness and well-being of your team. As important as it is, many managers still wonder whether they’re doing enough to keep their employees safe and engaged during their time at work.

In this article, we discuss office safety guidelines and offer tips for a safer work environment.

What Are Office Safety Guidelines?

Office safety (a.k.a. workplace safety) refers to the working environment at a company or business and encompasses all factors that impact the health, wellbeing, and safety of those who work there.

Depending on the type of business, these factors may include:

  • Environment

  • Work conditions

  • Work processes

  • Company culture

  • Tools available

  • Common practices

At the most basic, office safety is designed to prevent physical, mental, or emotional injury of any kind.

This includes — but is certainly not limited to — falls, impacts, ergonomic injuries, repetitive use injuries, and even mental and emotional trauma.

The office safety guidelines in the list below can help keep those events at a minimum or do away with them completely.

Office Safety Guidelines For A Safer Workplace

1) Office Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

During team meetings or when onboarding new hires, make it a point to stress that office safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Granted, your business sets the rules, but it’s incumbent on each individual to observe said guidelines and do their best to abide by them at all times.

Without some type of personal responsibility, office safety can quickly devolve into a “police state” of sorts where employees feel like they’re constantly being watched.

2) Dress Appropriately

Establishing a dress code is one aspect of office safety that is different from business to business.

In some cases, employees may never leave the office setting, while in other cases, employees may have to move from office to manufacturing space back to office again.

Regardless of the conditions in which your team works, it’s essential that everyone dresses according to the environment in which they spend the most time.

For some, this may mean more formal dress with few other restrictions. For others, it may mean avoiding dangling jewelry and loose hair that can get caught in machinery. For still others, it may mean full personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats.

3) Minimize Physical Contact

In many businesses, office safety also includes minimizing physical contact or maintaining increased physical distance.

Rather than just making a rule that everyone must stay at least six feet apart, your business can be proactive by taking the following steps:

  • Reconfigure the workplace to add more space between desks

  • Discourage shared equipment

  • Install physical barriers

  • Place decals on floors and furniture to mark “safe” distances

  • Set lower capacities for common areas

You may even go so far as to create hybrid workspaces that accommodate both onsite work and remote work for maximum office safety.

4) Keep Work Areas Neat And Tidy

One of the most common issues that most office employees face is clutter.

Whether it’s on the floor or on the desk, a messy workspace poses all manner of risks, including:

  • Objects falling off desks

  • Trip hazards

  • Stretching to reach an out-of-the-way item

  • Lost supplies

Adhering to this office safety guideline whenever possible also reduces the stress your team members will feel when working in a cluttered space.

5) Fully Close Doors And Drawers

When work is at its peak, team members can very easily develop tunnel vision because they’re so focused on the task at hand.

When this happens, they may not be fully aware of their environment and open doors and drawers can pose very real impact and trip threats.

Encourage your employees to close all cabinet doors and desk drawers when they’re finished accessing the space to avoid these issues.

6) Use Adjustable Equipment

The ergonomics of desks, chairs, keyboards, and other tools has become more important in recent years as office employees develop repetitive-use injuries from sitting or standing in one place for prolonged periods of time.

Managers can prevent this office safety issue by providing access to adjustable and ergonomic equipment such as:

  • Standing desks

  • Different types of seating options

  • Ergonomic keyboards and mice

  • Seat cushions

  • Anti-fatigue mats

  • Wrist rests

Not every employee will take advantage of these options, but asking them what they need goes a long way toward keeping your team happy, healthy, and productive.

7) Promote Employee Hygiene

Now, more than ever, employee hygiene is a very real office safety concern.

To prevent the spread of potentially harmful germs, you may need to make it policy that everyone abides by one or more of the following guidelines:

  • Wear masks when needed (this will depend on local guidelines)

  • Apply hand sanitizer before leaving your desk

  • Wash hands before and after eating

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with inside of elbow instead of hands

  • Keep hands away from face whenever possible

The combination of these regulations — and others — that your business implements will depend on the type of work your team does, where they work, and the health conditions in your area.

8) Don’t Operate Equipment Without Proper Training

In some offices, the only equipment present may be a fax machine, a telephone, and a copier. These tools very rarely pose serious risk of causing personal injury, although changing out components and repairing said equipment does hold dangerous potential.

Other workspaces, however, may contain office safety hazards such as paper shredders, cutters, heating devices, and machines with multiple moving parts.

Even though these tools may be sitting out for anyone to access, make it policy that no one operates equipment they haven’t been trained for.

9) Lift, Bend, And Stretch Carefully

Picking up heavy items is an obvious office safety concern, but even stretching to reach a coffee cup that got pushed out of arm’s reach can cause injury if done incorrectly.

Encourage proper lifting and bending technique in all your employees, but also take the time to instill the merits of moving their chair or getting up completely to reach far away items.

10) Clean And Disinfect The Office Regularly

To prevent the spread of germs on surfaces in your office, increase the frequency with which you clean and disinfect all areas in the workplace — especially common areas including the kitchen, the bathrooms, the elevators, and the lounge.

If your team works in a heavily trafficked workspace with a lot of people coming and going, you may need to clean and disinfect surfaces every few hours to ensure that viruses don't survive.

You may also need to change the chemicals you use so that they’re powerful enough to kill germs on all types of surfaces.

Office Safety In The 21st-Century Workplace

The way we work is changing. The transition from the 20th to the 21st century brought with it a host of new workplace options, including:

Regardless of where your team works, though, office safety is paramount for their happiness and success.

At Bond Collective, we put the health and safety of our members and guests above all else. Whether it’s making sure that all doors and drawers are closed when not in use, or providing plenty of break space for the comfort of your team, we’ve got it covered.

Even during times of pandemic, we know your business still needs to operate. That’s why we’ve implemented office safety policies and guidelines to prevent the spread of disease.

At all of our Bond Collective locations across the country, we’ve modified the workspaces so your team members remain six feet apart at all times. We’ve increased the frequency with which we clean and disinfect all public spaces and surfaces.

We’ve made masks mandatory, set up hand sanitizer in all corners of the office, encouraged frequent handwashing, and even begun monitoring the number of people in a given space to prevent too many people from being too close together.

All of this — and more — so that you and your team can feel safe at work.

To find out more about how we make office safety a priority, call or visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, California, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.

And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.