With many places returning to a semi-normal state in regards to operating hours and available services, employees are slowly getting back to work, but that doesn’t mean life looks the same as it did before COVID came along. Distancing and excessive hand washing aren’t the only new policies around most offices, as masks have become the hottest (literally!) fashion trend and are required in many places across the US. For some of us this new accessory has been a difficult and uncomfortable adjustment. Getting used to breathing through fabric, sore spots on the backs of our ears and head from straps or cords, remembering to bring it EVERYWHERE…these reasons and more are why masks have added a bit of complication to daily life.
While we can’t say it will make it fun to wear a mask, we have some tips to help as you transition into this new way of life:
Don’t like breathing through the fabric? We get it. It doesn’t feel normal to have a piece of cloth covering your nose and mouth. If possible, look for masks made with breathable fabrics that still offer the protection you need. Many companies are making masks that allow better airflow to your face without sacrificing viral-blocking capabilities. Another tip? Make sure you wash the mask in something with a pleasant scent. Don’t use harsh chemicals or overpowering fragrances, as this will make it even more difficult to breathe in the mask each day. If you are really struggling with breathing or feelings of claustrophobia, consider asking your boss if there is a safe space you can take a breath a few times each day. A bathroom that can be easily cleaned afterward, a break room or spare closet, or even being allowed to go back to your own car for a few minutes at a time will let you remove the mask and give yourself a reset before you get back to the grind.
Ears are sore? Look for masks that have a tie for the back of the head instead of the ears, OR look for an “ear-band” that binds the ear loops on a regular mask together behind your head, leaving your ears free. These bands are being sold by many small, local crafters right now, as well as several bigger box online stores. They come in a variety of styles, but all function in similar ways: to attach the ear loops of a mask to something OTHER than your ears.
Hard to keep track of which mask is clean? With everyone in the family wearing masks now, it can get frustrating making sure there are plenty of clean ones to go around. We suggest having a designated spot for each person to keep their stash of clean masks, and then have a basket either in your laundry space, by the front door, or even near the regular laundry hamper for used masks only. That makes it easy to sanitize them all at once and they don’t get lost in the regular load of laundry. Aim to have at least 3 masks each in your family. One to wear, one in the wash, and one as a backup is a good rule of thumb; although, having more is always a plus in case laundry day gets delayed.
Keep forgetting your mask? Nothing is as frustrating as getting to work (or the grocery store, a restaurant, etc.) and realizing you left your mask at home. Keeping a backup mask on hand in your car, or investing in a small box of disposable medical masks to keep under the front seat, is a great way to make sure you’re never left in a bind.
We hope these tips help make the mask wearing more manageable as you head back into the workplace. Remember, it’s a small gesture to keep yourself and the ones you love safe. If you’re currently battling your way through unemployment and the difficulties that COVID has thrown your way regarding limited interviews and lessened opportunities, PHR Staffing Solutions is here for you. We do the legwork for you, working with many local employers and connecting them with quality applicants like YOU. Call us for more information or apply online!