The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Social Distancing In The Office During COVID-19
Conducting business has changed because of the pandemic. Wearing protective equipment such as masks and enforcing the concept of social distancing has become the norm.
Seemingly, working from home is the most viable alternative to conduct business. Unfortunately, not everyone can work from home. There are still certain aspects of the workforce that needed a physical presence for a business to be fully operational and profitable like restaurants and stores. This is also an attempt to slow down the rise of unemployment.
With that said, businesses are now rethinking how to design their workspaces, especially businesses that needed employees’ physical presence. Experts are also thinking of how to integrate new policies and possible changes in the workplace once business start to reopen.
Safety is still in question for most people once things begin to slowly go back to normal. Not everyone will feel safe and comfortable to go back to the office regardless if there are new policies to ensure that social distancing and sanitation are implemented as most are already adapted to working from home for the past few months.
For business leaders to make effective social distancing policies, they should see the realities of the situation and list down viable solutions to ensure the safety and health of their employees. A good and quick measure is to implement unassigned seating. That way, employees can easily establish their own boundaries and choose their seat at a distance.
Privacy panels should be installed in shared workspaces. It can be in the form of cubicles or simple plexiglass screens. These panels can reduce the spread of viruses and diseases and control distancing among employees.
You may also convert conference rooms into scrum or open discussion spaces by removing seats and communal tables. Not only does it add extra personal space but it reduces touch points which can become a source of viruses and diseases.
Enforce a clean desk policy and encourage employees to help maintenance teams in cleaning and disinfecting the desks. Assign lockers, cabinets, and individual drawers to employees in order to reduce touch points.
Have communal trash bin instead of individual ones to consolidate sanitation. Change phone handsets to VOIP communication with headsets and install voice-activated controls to reduce the need to touch commonly used items like doors or drawers. Consider a rotational weekly schedule as this reduces the workforce density in the office by twenty percent.
These are some of the strategies that you can implement in your office to provide direction once you decide to open your office.