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Making the commute during COVID

For quite a few people, the commute to work over the past two months has gone from an hour or more to mere minutes–or as long as it takes to go from the kitchen to the makeshift home office. As cities begin to reopen and workers start thinking about returning to the downtown (as opposed to the downstairs) office, an issue on many people’s minds is: “How do I get there and return home to my family safely?” For those in large cities who rely on public transportation in the form of often-crowded buses and subways and trains, the issue is especially thorny.

To give their employees safe options, some companies are looking into alternative transportation possibilities: rental car allowances, private bus services, and subsidized parking, to name a few. And of course, there’s always the option that those who have been working from home will continue to work from home, delaying the return to the workplace altogether.

For sure, there are a lot of things to be considered in helping people navigate their way back to the office. That’s why IREM developed a set of suggestions for getting to and from work safely as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a template you can customize or use as is for distribution to your own management team, to tenants of commercial buildings you manage for advising their employees, and to residents of your apartments and HOAs as they begin making plans to return to their workplaces.

These “Tips for Getting to and from Work Safely” present simple habits that can be followed for a safe transition from home to work and back again. Included are common-sense tips for using:

  • Solo transportation–driving your personal car, biking, and walking
  • Shared transportation–taxis and ride-shares like Uber or Lyft
  • Mass transit–buses, subways, and trains

No matter which mode of transportation is used, some common themes apply. Remember that viral droplets must enter through the eyes, nose, or mouth to cause infection, so fight the urge to touch your face with your hands while traveling. After you leave your parking garage or lock your bike or get off the train or bus, wash your hands with soap or water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.  This will protect you from viral droplets you may have picked up on your commute. And don’t forget to wear a face covering throughout the trip to protect others.

For more guidance on helping your employees get to and from work safely, plus many other resources, visit IREM’s COVID-19 resource page

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