While there is no way to ensure that an asymptomatic carrier of COVID 19 will not walk into a law office and infect others, there are many things that our law firm has done to help reduce the chances of people contracting COVID 19 when visiting the Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. law offices. For our clients and visitors, this blog is to assure you that your safety is important to us. For other law firms trying to figure out what to do, this blog should provide you with some helpful information to reduce the chance of Coronavirus exposure for customers and visitors.
Some of the ways a company can reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in the workplace include:
Advising people with any symptoms to stay home.
- Providing hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and other cleaning products for use by employees and clients in all workspaces and break areas.
- Providing sneeze guards and/or screens in interview areas and intake areas.
- Offering disposable masks to visitors and requiring them of employees to meet with clients.
- Employing a work-from-home policy to limit the number of people in the office on any given day.
- Setting a regular daily schedule of wiping down doorknobs and handles to limit germs.
- Conducting Zoom meetings and conferences and using electronic signature software to limit the need for face-to-face meetings.
What Costs Are There in Preparing Your Office for Post-COVID Business?
The costs that you should anticipate at a minimum for post-COVID 19 business include the costs of purchasing sanitary products such as disposable masks for visitors, hand sanitizer in key places, and Lysol or cleaning products for cleaning doors and cabinet pulls. Additionally, you will want to account for any technology upgrade costs and/or plexiglass sneeze guards you decide to implement. The former is the relatively minor costs while the latter can add up.
What Technology Costs Should be Anticipated Due to COVID 19 Preparation?
The technology costs you will have in order to continue business after COVID 19 largely depend upon what your system looked like pre-COVID 19. Most up-to-date computers have or can easily be upgraded to have a video camera. Refurbished webcams that attach to an existing computer can be purchased for under $5.00 on Amazon. Zoom, itself, and most videoconferencing software accounts are relatively cheap. One person with a Zoom account for under $20.00 can easily host meetings with up to 100 people. If you have a larger organization or need to be able to have managers see who is online at any given time, the Avaya 1x system or other systems can be added as well. The cost of these may vary on what upgrades you require to implement them, what hardware you have or do not have, and how fancy you wish to get. Our firm has been extremely pleased with the Avaya 1x system that allows us to see who is on at any given moment, transfer calls to anyone’s computer, and even send messages back and forth between users.
There are several companies that are making Coronavirus plexiglass shields for purchase to use in your office or business. D&R Signs, LLC makes them locally if you are in Houston Some other non-local choices include Professional Plastics and Regal Plastics. There are many plastic companies that have come out with different models and versions of countertop plexiglass shields and other types of coronavirus sneeze guards for businesses and offices. The designs vary from a simple, temporary structure that can be moved from desk-to-desk as needed to permanently installed Coronavirus shields for areas of higher traffic.
What Do the COVID 19 Plexiglass Sneeze Guards for Offices Cost?
Depending upon how fancy of a guard you want you can expect your Coronavirus plexiglass guard to cost $125-400 each. A desktop Plexiglass sneeze guard that is universally designed to set on the average-sized desk or table is going to be cheaper than a custom made-to-order Coronavirus shield. This desktop model from D&R Signs, LLC pictured on the right runs $135.00. This is a standard-size screen that is portable. It is handy when you want to use it at a desk or in a conference room for a meeting with one or two clients at a table.
We also had a custom-built germ shield built for our receptionist-seating area that fits the area and includes a cut-out for passing documents back and forth. Pictured to the left, this model was built to specification by the same company and ran us $325.00 plus taxed. It is very useful for out receptionist because she can pass documents back and forth through the cut-out section without fear of direct exposure to exhaling, coughing, or sneezing by a visitor.
There are several things that a law office or other business can do to help decrease exposure risks of COVID 19 to both staff and visitors. By implementing a few simple policies and procedures ad providing cleaning materials, germs can be reduced. Screens and shields can be purchased at a reasonable cost to reduce exposure. Additionally, considering video-conference options and work-from-home policies can help limit the number of people in the office. While there is no way to make your office 100% safe from exposures others may bring in, implementing as many of the above procedures will at least send a message to your employees and customers that you care about their safety.