It has been a wild 2020, to say the least. Many of today’s socially acceptable mannerisms were not prevalent or even around a year ago. To name several, we are now social distancing, wearing masks, zooming, self-quarantining, and touching elbows to greet one another. With so many changes come new solutions and ideas.
As many essential workers have been at the office and remote personnel begin to return to work, what new challenges will the workplace face? How will people socialize, collaborate, and take breaks together? At work, it’s important to not only take the right steps to prevent the spread of COVID for individuals, but also for workgroups. Sending an entire workgroup home has the potential to shut down a company.
For the sake of this article, let’s focus on the break room. Many office break rooms are small and have different touchpoints. Some people will use this area to make a quick cup of coffee, while others might spend their entire lunch break there.
Social Distancing in Employee Break Rooms
We have seen clients address break room social distancing in several different ways. First, the number of people allowed in a confined space is limited and signs are posted at the entrances with the new occupancy number. Where people may get in line for coffee or to use the vending machines, rope or elastic stanchions and markers on the floor are used to indicate where people can position themselves. Fewer tables may be available or may be more spread to limit seating. To prevent congregating, some offices have removed all tables and encouraged their employees to eat at their desk or in their cars. Others have set up plastic dividers on the tables or have created more break times to limit the traffic flow at any given time. With so many variables to think about, your break room solution will probably be unique to that of other companies.
As a coffee and vending operator, A.H continues to research new ideas to make the break room more accessible during these times. One of the best apps for vending machines is The USConnect app. With this app, a person can create an account and add money to it online. In a micro market setting, they simply scan a products’ barcode, and then their account’s barcode from the app. This touchless transaction from a phone is free from contaminants. A credit card can be used in the same way but won’t offer all of the benefits of having your own USConnect account. For vending, the touchless solution is very close. The payment can still be done either through the app or with a credit card. Additionally, a keypad emulator will be released soon. With the USConnect app, a person will be able to use their phone as the machine’s keypad to make their selection and the payment.
Sanitization in Employee Break Rooms
Another option for a vending break room is to have credit card readers on your machines. Why touch money if you can use your own credit or debit cards? A.H. has upgraded our credit card readers with 4G radios and EMV technology (smart chips) so transactions will be clean, quick, and safe.
For coffee, we offer The Cafection bean to cup brewer. This machine also has a selection pad emulator, so you can choose a wide variety of drinks from your phone.
In addition to wipes and hand sanitizer, we supply NanoSeptic films which are pads that you can stick to touch points. These antimicrobial pads kill and eliminate the COVID virus and other microbes for up to 90 days. By putting them on doors or coffee pot handles, your employees can rest assured that you have their safety in mind.
One of our water cooler companies offers a foot pedal solution while other companies use an infrared beam that when broken, will dispense water.
Some people will continue to work from home even after we have moved beyond this pandemic. They may feel a little neglected without access to your company’s office amenities. For this reason, A.H offers gift boxes that you can send to these employees. What a nice surprise when they open the box to find treats, coffees, and teas. These boxes are packed using PPE and can be delivered directly to their home address.
Taking Precautions from Our Facility to Yours
Finally, we should address what kind of precautions and procedures your service operator is performing. You can be doing everything correctly at your facility, but what about your service provider? Our company has been very thorough and diligent with our procedures, so let’s use A.H. as a benchmark. We begin this process by educating our personnel about their social responsibilities, home life, and how cross-contamination works. Within our own facility, we wipe down all touch points twice daily with recommended QUAT, a COVID-19 virus and microbe killer. All of our personnel wear masks in the workplace and when they enter a Customers’ facility. Every A.H. employee’s temperature is recorded daily, and we have been trained to follow all CDC guidelines (reporting illness, washing hands, hygiene etiquette, etc.). We have split our employees into shifts or work groups to minimize the possibility of cross-contamination. Our Drivers wear gloves when loading, delivering, or filling the machines in your facility and apply QUAT on all the equipment touch points. In addition, we follow all our customers’ requirements which may include our employee’s temperatures being taken, wearing face shields, and more.
Let’s put 2020 behind us and look towards a bright and better 2021!