Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-12-2020: Elevator anxiety

Has COVID-19 caused you to have elevator anxiety, as in a fear of being inside of a 7' x 5' box with other people? According to a not-quite scientific Twitter poll with over 4,000 responses, more than six in 10 workers will not use an elevator to get to their office.

These results beg the question, are elevators safe despite our apparent (and in my mind perceived justified) reluctance to use them?

Believe it or not, the answer is that despite their small size and cramped quarters, given what we currently know about COVID-19 and its transmission, elevators should be safe in most instances.

According to Axios, most elevators are well ventilated, and we're not inside of them long enough to worry about viral exposure.

Still, if you want employees to feel safe and comfortable riding in an elevator to travel to and from work, you should (or your landlord should) implement some basic coronavirus protocols:

  • Limit capacity based on the size of the elevator car.
  • Mark designated and distanced standing spaces on the floor.
  • Require masks or facial coverings inside the elevator car.
  • Encourage standing with one's face to the walls and not the door (or the other passengers).
  • Discourage speaking.
  • Install hand sanitizer dispensers outside and inside elevator cars, make sure they stay filled, and encourage their use before pressing buttons.  
  • Stagger shift, break, and lunch times to avoid long elevator queues or crowded cars.

My current office (i.e., home) lacks an elevator. But, if I had to go back to my office office, I'm "Team Stairs" all the way until the pandemic ends.