Social distancing has gone from being a term nobody had ever heard to the words on everyone’s lips in a few short weeks. If you’re in charge of a workplace, then making sure that the new guidelines are followed can be particularly challenging. As we begin to slowly and carefully return to our workplace, we’ll explore what you need to know about social distancing.
In general, your employees should try to remain around 6 feet apart at all times. There should be no touching of other people and surfaces and devices should be wiped down when anyone has finished using them. It’s also vital that employees wash their hands for 20 seconds when they come into the office, after eating and at any other time that they would usually wash their hands. If possible, make sure that there are plentiful supplies of soap and hand sanitizer available. Soap is more effective than hand sanitizer against COVID-19, so hand washing should always be the first choice if at all possible.
Similarly, try and make as many meetings as virtual as possible. This includes interviews for any job applicants or other external people who would normally come into the office. One positive result from working at home is that people have become more knowledgeable and experienced with virtual meetings.
If there are members of your team who can work from home, then ask them to do so. As a general rule, you should do whatever you can to reduce the number of people who are in the workplace at any one time. If this isn’t possible, then consider staggering shifts to space out workers and avoid having everyone in the office at the same time.
If you’re worried about COVID-19 leaving your team unable to come to work then consider splitting them into two groups and varying which one works remotely. Team A can work remotely one week while Team B is in the office and the two can swap the following week. This will make it easier for you to maintain business continuity in this challenging time.
Companies have generally tried to discourage employees from eating at their desks, but this may become a necessity if the kitchen area in your office is particularly small. Similarly, encourage staff to go outside for lunch if that is at all possible.
Social distancing is a new concept for almost everyone who is having to do it, and this means that adjusting is a challenge. Try not to be too harsh on anyone who makes mistakes during this period. Simply remind them of the principles of social distancing. Similarly, a lot of people are going to be working from home for the first time and may find it hard to adjust to working in this way. Give them time and, if possible, help them out with the purchase of equipment that they may need to make this work. Staff who share apartments with other people and those with children who may be off school will find the situation particularly difficult, so make sure that you are especially patient with them.
Tiffany Armington is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston-Galveston region. Tiffany brings her studies in special education and 12 years’ experience in marketing, sales, and training to the team. Her chief cornerstone is customer service that is centered and focused on removing all barriers to full time employment. She truly enjoys assisting job seekers with career readiness courses that will ultimately lead them to the perfect career opportunity. She is very passionate about building up and encouraging others to reach the possibilities in their lives.