In connection with the gradual reopening of society, the Danish Working Environment Authority, in collaboration with the Danish Patient Safety Authority, has prepared informational material that provides guidance for preventing the spread of infection in private-sector office workplaces.
A particular aspect of working in an office is that employees often sit together in one large room or in smaller offices that are shared with others. Working in an office environment and having meetings with both colleagues and external partners can involve employees being in physical contact with a lot of other people over the course of a working day. This contact must be limited and may occur only under conditions that reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Take care of employees - limit the risk of spreading infection
It is important to organise office work in a way that minimises the risk of employees becoming infected with coronavirus.
This is done by following Danish Health Authority recommendations and ensuring the following:
Stay home in the event of illness
- Employees are not allowed to come to work if they have mild symptoms that could indicate COVID-19.
- For employees in a particular risk group, it is recommended that management conduct a specific individual assessment based on the relevant part of the Danish Health Authority's guidelines in dialogue with the individual employee.
- Employees with symptomatic or infected family members should pay particular attention to symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 and watch for symptoms described in Danish Health Authority recommendations.
- With regard to employees returning to work after an illness, the company must follow the Danish Health Authority's guidelines for when they can be regarded as no longer contagious.
- To the extent that testing capacity is available, the Danish Health Authority's guidelines on COVID-19 testing will be followed in order to provide rapid notification of recovery.
Plan work so that employees can maintain a distance from one another
At the office
- Aim to have some employees continue working from home for a while yet. Consider which tasks and work areas can be carried out from home without reducing productivity significantly.
- Distance between employees must be ensured by, for example, spreading employees out over multiple sites, working in shifts, etc. There should be a distance of at least 1 meter between employees.
- Introduce staggered working hours so that there are not too many employees at work at the same time and so that the number of employees using public transport to and from work at the same time is kept low.
- Several employees should not be in small rooms, such as meeting rooms, lunch rooms and packing rooms, at the same time.
- Cancel joint meetings or hold them online or in the largest room at the workplace. Be aware that the path employees take to, and into, a large room also poses a risk of spreading the infection.
- Holding meetings outdoors is a good solution.
In the cafeteria
- Arrange the cafeteria so that it is possible to maintain a distance. For example, use smaller tables, more distance between tables and distance markings at the order and payment counters. Do not offer a buffet.
- Stagger employee breaks so that there are not too many people in the cafeteria at the same time.
- Consider closing the seated dining area in large cafeterias – especially if multiple departments can show up at once.
Provide an opportunity to wash hands and, to the extent possible, hand sanitiser
- Employees must have access to soap and water or hand sanitiser at all relevant locations, such as at the entrance doors, in the lunch room, cafeteria and by the coffee machine.
- All employees must be informed of proper hand hygiene (hand washing/hand sanitiser) and other relevant hygiene.
Minimise contact with others
- Do not shake hands and minimise physical contact with colleagues, customers and external business partners.
- If you have contact with customers, consider how this can be done without any close physical contact.
- Hold meetings via telephone or video to the extent possible.
Limit in-person external meetings.
- Limit business travel and attendance at courses, conferences, etc., or arrange for virtual sessions.
Make regular cleaning a priority
- Regularly clean and disinfect all common contact points in the workplace, such as door handles, buttons on vending machines, common facilities, payment terminals, coffee machines, refrigerators and microwave ovens.
- Toilets must be cleaned on a regular basis; all surfaces must be washed and contact points disinfected. Soap and water must be available. Towels must not be shared.
- If employees do not have permanent workstations, then the individual workstation must be thoroughly cleaned before a new employee takes it over.
- If an employee becomes ill, then the workstation must be thoroughly cleaned.
The above is a supplement to the guidelines for reopening private workplaces.
See the guidelines (in danish)
What does the Working Environment Act say?
The same working environment rules apply to office work as apply to all other job functions. This means that employers must continually identify the risks of employees being exposed to factors that could harm their health or safety. This also applies to coronavirus infections.
Employers are therefore obliged to implement measures to prevent the risk of coronavirus infections as effectively as possible.
The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA)
Monday - Thursday: 8 - 15
Friday: 8 - 14
+45 70 12 12 88
Press 9 for English