Medical researchers have now had several months to examine how COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 spreads and which measures mitigate transmission. While this research is ongoing, two of the most significant ways to limit the spread of infection seem to be wearing masks/face coverings in public (especially indoors) and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others whenever possible. This latter measure, commonly known as “social distancing,” is not always easily achieved, however, especially now that many businesses are in the process of reopening. If your space is limited, employees might not be able to keep their distance throughout the day.So, what can you do to reduce close crowding in your office? Here are six ways to promote social distancing in your workplace and keep your people safe.
Establish an Occupancy Limit
The first step to consider is establishing a rule for how many people can be inside the office at a given time. This plan should also remain compliant with local guidelines and regulations -- the current suggestion for proper social distancing is to limit crowds to no more than 10 people at a time. Of course, if your business employs more than 10 people and/or typically contains more than 10 people at once, maintaining this limit can be challenging and hamper productivity. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the amount of close contact beyond reducing capacity.
Separate Chairs, Desks, and Tables
No matter how many people are in the office, it’s important to keep each individual at least six feet apart from everyone else. This will require rearranging desks, chairs, tables, etc. in a strategic manner. These adjustments, while not permanent, should be made to last for the foreseeable future, as the spread of COVID-19 will likely remain a threat until an effective vaccine is accessible.
Manage Traffic Flow With Signage
Even in offices where workers primarily sit at desks for the majority of their day, people are bound to move around. This free movement can result in close contact and collisions, putting everyone at risk. One way to mitigate this reality is by posting signs, taping floors with directional cues, roping off sections, etc., to direct foot traffic in one direction. Doing so might slow things down a bit, but it’s a good safety measure regardless.
Work in Shifts
Another way to reduce the number of people in your office is to adjust schedules and stagger shifts. You’ll need the cooperation of your employees in order to do this, of course, but if possible, you might have some workers come in early and leave early and others come in later and leave later. The less overlap there is between these shifts, the better.
Hold Off on Large Meetings and Gatherings
While communication is key during these unprecedented times, large in-person meetings can wait until things return to normal. Until then, consider conducting virtual meetings, holding several smaller meetings, corresponding via email, video chat, messaging services, and more. The important thing is ensuring that you still relay crucial information to your people throughout the day.
Allow Remote Work When Possible
Over the course of this pandemic, many businesses have made the switch to remote work protocols. Not every business can sustain this change, but those that can should continue allowing and even encouraging employees to work from home if: 1) workers are able to do so, 2) workers feel safer doing so, and 3) doing so will make social distancing much easier for the office as a whole.
Safety Beyond Social Distancing
The six ideas presented above can help your office remain open while still keeping your people safe. That said, maintaining social distance protocols is only one of the key ingredients to minimizing the risk of infection at your workplace. You should also enforce indoor mask-wearing, provide PPE when necessary and if possible, boost your cleaning and disinfectionefforts, and stay informed about COVID-19 cases in your community. If you need help keeping up with current best practices, consider utilizing the professional disinfecting servicesoffered here at The Budd Group. In addition to providing key services like coronavirus deep clean services, electrostatic disinfection services, and more, our experts can help you optimize your facility to keep your people healthy and safe.For more information regarding COVID-19 and recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.