The first step is reducing the risks of commuting. The virus can spread from person to person in crowded spaces and through shared surfaces that become contaminated. Mass transit systems in New York, San Francisco and Chicago probably contributed to early spread. Cities have stepped up cleaning protocols, but workers should limit their use of mass transit when possible, and be aware that surfaces can spread infection. Businesses can encourage carpooling or deploy corporate vans or other forms of transport where hygiene and social distancing are easier to control.
Companies can also continue to encourage telework, and Zoom calls aren’t only for employees stuck at home. Technology can allow for collaboration, even on the job site. Not all meetings based in the office need to happen in person.
Employers should also reduce density, which may be easier in offices than on shop floors. Employers can, say, split workers into groups and alternate who shows up in person and who works from home. Companies can allow staggered schedules, especially to avoid rush hours on crowded trains and buses. Employers might also consider redesigning open office plans or manufacturing plants to allow for more distance between workers, so that one sick person can’t take down an entire workforce.