Here’s How to Stay Healthy During an Outbreak

Fear spreads faster than a virus ever could. In companies where BPO agents may be at risk, it’s important to take precautionary measures against the said outbreak.

As of today, there are 49 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. While this news could send off a few panic responses from fellow citizens, the better way to approach this is with prudence armed with knowledge.

Coronaviruses are the primary cause of respiratory infections such as the common cold and cough. They are zoonotic, which means they are transferred from animals to humans.

Therefore, it’s not unusual to catch a few colds every once in a while, especially if you have been in crowded and closed office spaces.

On the other spectrum, we’ve also seen notorious coronavirus spread such as MERS-COV (camels to human transmission) and SARS-COV (civet cats to human transmission).

The COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus with an unidentified source of origin. According to the Department of Health (DOH), this strain is evidenced by severe pneumonia and respiratory compromise in most cases.

How do I prevent myself and my fellow BPO agents from COVID-19?

Whether in a public or office setting, BPO agents need to take precautionary measures everywhere they go.

Here are some important tips you can use to prevent contracting the virus.

Tip 1: Frequently wash your hands.

Since viruses linger on the surface of any object, BPO agents need to clean hands using soap and water with roughly 20 seconds of handwashing.

It is a good preventive measure to wash your hands properly after you’ve used a public computer, sneezed, or coughed. In public restrooms, use a tissue to touch handles and flush.

If soap and water are not immediately accessible, take a disinfectant such as alcohol and hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol content. T

his can immediately kill off viruses that may linger on the surfaces of your skin such as your hands and arms.

Tip 2: Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.

Viruses can cling onto the mucous membranes which are the soft tissues surrounding the mouth, eyes, and nose.

In public spaces like a comfort room or office space, be mindful to wash your hands after keyboards, desks, and other publicly shared items.

Tip 3: Keep a safe distance.

It’s not an unlikely scenario for BPO agents to work in close cubicles enclosed air-conditioned offices. For preventive measures, keep a good distance from people who appear to have colds or flu.

As much as possible, put some distance in public spaces to avoid catching the virus floating in the air.

Tip 4: Consider going for home-based.

Employers may provide flexible working options if you are actively sick.

Local BPO companies could be offering remote work or home-based strategies to counter a foreseen rise in absenteeism.

Using time-tracking metrics such as Time Doctor and Hours, agents can still perform their jobs without going to the office. Project management tools such as Asana and Slack could also help maintain the workflow.

Tip 5: Eat healthily and exercise.

Night shifts can be a struggle especially if you find it difficult to get a sleep pattern to get adequate rest. BPO agents should take care of themselves even if it can be challenging at times.

Prepare your meals.

During your free time, you could do pre-planned meal preparations such as fruit and vegetable salads where you can easily re-heat or mix.

Take your vitamins!

For preventive measures, take 350 mg vitamin C daily. If you have colds or flu, take around 700mg of vitamin C per day. Further treatments from your doctor are necessary if you’re experiencing shortness of breath or other respiratory issues.

Drink fluids. Lots of them.

Hydrate yourself throughout the day. On average, men need at least 3.7liters of water every day while women need at least 2.7 liters. Always have a handy bottle with you so you could maintain hydration even during dry summer seasons.

Walk, walk, walk.

Take walks for about 10 to 15 minutes per day. Instead of taking public transportation, BPO agents with offices nearby or working in a co-working space can take this opportunity to take their daily exercise.

Exercising for one hour for at least once a week can be good for your physical and mental health.

Tip 6: Practice cough and sneeze etiquette.

When you feel a sneeze or cough coming, cover both your mouth and nose to catch the droplets.

You can sneeze through the inside of the elbow if you can’t immediately reach out for a tissue or handkerchief. If possible, place used tissues in ‘infectious’ trash bins to avoid infecting others.

After discarding the trash, practice the proper washing of hands every time to clean off the viruses on your skin’s surface.

Tip 7: Wear a facemask only when you’re sick.

Though you may be in constant contact with other BPO agents at work, it’s unnecessary to wear one if you are healthy.

Only wear a mask if throughout your duty you feel a cold or cough coming. Due to the short supply of face masks, it would be best to avoid using this.

Tip 8: Disinfect as often as possible.

BPO agents work in shifts so you may share desks, computers, mice, and headsets to perform your job.

Before you type away on your keyboard, disinfect your items by dampening tissues with some alcohol or hand sanitizer solution.

For foamed or leather ear pads, dampen a cloth with some alcohol or hand sanitizer and gently wipe the pads. You can soak Q-Tips on the same solution to clean the crevices of the headset.

Tip 9: Consider going to private offices.

It would also be a good preventive measure to separate BPO agents who got sick upon their arrival or get sick during their working hours.

In anticipation of increasing absentees during an outbreak, some companies may use a separate office for individuals with a possible cold or flu if work needs to be done in an office.

Conclusion

COVID-19, just like any virus, can be prevented using basic hygienic practices.

The most essential ones are washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

Take note that stress will make you more susceptible to illness. Therefore, consider consuming better food options.

Eat more fruits and vegetables to get the daily recommended vitamins to fight off viruses and other illnesses.

Tricia Hingpit

Founder of The Tiny Seconds

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