By now, you’re probably aware of the rules of lockdown: you must only go outside of your home for essentials (like food and medicine), for exercise or to go to work if you cannot work from home. But for those whose companies are still running, for supermarket staff and other essential businesses, and for the key workers battling to keep the country safe, going to work cannot be avoided.
It’s great to see that precautions are being taken in workplaces across the nation, for example you’ve probably had to queue outside the supermarket to get food and you’ve most likely seen nurses and carers walking around in their PPE. And while most people are doing their part to keep everyone as safe as possible at work, there is still the need for workers to travel to and from work, which will mean a number of different things.
Some will walk, drive, get the bus or train, or cycle to travel to work each day. And of course, some modes of transport are safer than others and we would recommend walking or driving alone where possible. But no journey is without its issues no matter how you travel, so My Baggage take a look at seven ways you can stay safe while traveling for work.
1. Try to Avoid Touching Anything
Unless you’re wearing gloves, try to avoid touching things as much as you possibly can during your journey. This might include things like pushing the buttons at traffic lights, using railings to go up and down steps, paying with cash for the bus or holding the handrails on the tube.
The good news is, most people are now in lockdown so it is much quieter on the streets and roads which should hopefully reduce the need to use things like traffic lights, and there should be more seats available on transport such as train or tube, reducing the need to hold rails. That said, it’s not always possible to avoid touching things so continue to follow advice to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
2. Carry Hand Sanitiser with You
It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitiser with you when travelling, especially if you’re still using public transport. Make sure the alcohol content of your sanitiser is 60% or above, otherwise it’s not as effective. Then of course, as soon as you arrive at work wash your hands before you do anything else.
3. Avoid Lift Shares and Public Transport Where Possible
Normally, we encourage lift shares and the use of public transport to help save our environment, but during these strange times it is advised that you travel alone unless the other person is a member of your household. We understand that in some cases it’s unavoidable but if you can walk, cycle or drive instead of getting the bus, train or tube that is also recommended.
If you usually hop on the tube for two stops (just for ease) but you could make the walk to work, it might be safer to do so. Similarly, if you usually take the bus or train and leave the car at home, it’s best to drive yourself where you can during this current pandemic.
Finally, if you rely on taxis or other driver services like Uber, to get you too and from work, you need to be careful of these enclosed spaces. It’s recommended that you sit behind the driver as you’re less likely to be affected by droplets if they cough or sneeze. Again, if you usually get a lift but you can walk or ride, this could be a better option at this time.
4. Always Keep Social Distancing in Mind
No matter how you get to work, it pays to always keep social distancing in the forefront of your mind. If you catch the bus or train, stand two metres away from other passengers while you wait. Remember, though most transport links are running, many are on reduced timetables so make sure you check these before heading out.
When you get on the bus or train, try to find a seat that’s at least two metres from other travellers. We understand that this won’t always be possible depending on how busy the service is, but keeping your distance as much as you can will help to keep you safe. On a similar note, if you can choose an earlier or later service to avoid the busier routes, or get off a few stops earlier and walk to cut your time on the vehicle short, this can also be beneficial.
5. Don’t Pay with Cash
What’s more, whether you’re paying on the bus, using the ticket machine at the train station or travelling through the underground, try to avoid handling cash as much as possible. Contactless payments and travel cards like Oyster, make this much easier. Nowadays all forms of transport will have these systems in place to allow you to pay without having to handle actual money.
6. Wear a Protective Gear If You Can
If you’re lucky enough to have access to protective gear such as masks, these can be a useful way to protect yourself when travelling for work, particularly if you use public transport. Disposable gloves and antibacterial wipes make a welcome addition to your daily commute, especially when using petrol pumps to refuel your car as these can hold a lot of germs.
So if you can get your hands on these protective items then use them when possible. Just make sure you’re not taking these at the expense of the people who need them most.
7. Regularly Disinfect Your Car
Finally, if you’re driving yourself to work, it’s important that you regularly disinfect the high-touch areas of your car such as your gearstick, steering wheel and seatbelt. And if the weather allows, it’s a good idea to leave your windows open a crack as much as you can to let the car air out. These steps are even more important if you’re in a high risk role such as a doctor, nurse, carer or supermarket worker.