Seven Tips for Successful Social Distancing in the Workplace
With a phased return to work underway, anxiety has returned for many of us as we worry about keeping safe in the workplace. Even with social distancing measures in place, and guidelines provided by employers, we can all play our part in being responsible co-workers.
For the wellbeing or yourself, and others, here’s seven helpful tips to maintain effective social distancing when you return to the office.
Reconsider your route into the office
Social distancing begins even before your working day does. It’s important to consider your route in and out of the office while observing health and safety practices and important signage that communicates workplace safety measures. If you’re using public transport, you may wish to avoid rush hour and use a face cover and hand sanitiser. Be mindful of your distance from others and plan all the ‘touchpoints’ you may come into contact with on your journey.
Observe new ways of working
We are currently living through a global pandemic, that has changed the way we work, possibly forever. As such, there will be new guidelines, policies and ways of working. Collaborative office desks and hot desks may no longer exist, team meetings may take place virtually, and we might even have to wear protective clothing in some professions for compliance reasons. Social distancing will remain important in the workplace and products such as desk screens and screen dividers may be used to re-configure a safe environment for all. Each employer and union will have its own guidelines, so be sure to read up on these in advance.
Avoid sharing equipment
Where possible, avoid sharing office equipment, printed documents and touching shared surfaces. You may wish to use your own office stationery to avoid this, such as a desktop whiteboard, desktop whiteboard easel or whiteboard pens.
Using your own whiteboard is a safer paper alternative as you won’t have to make quite so many trips to the printing room or stationary cupboard. Swapping paper for a personal whiteboard is good for the environment too. Whiteboards can be easily wiped clean after use and Nobo offers a range of whiteboard cleaning products to maintain clean surfaces and hygiene, as well as keeping your board in excellent condition.
Display staying alert signs
If your desk is located in a busy area where a lot of people walk past, for extra reassurance you may wish to ask your employer to put additional signage up reminding colleagues to keep a safe distance. A poster frame is a great tool for clearly displaying the latest guidance and social distancing information.
Cut back on face-to-face meetings
If home working has taught us anything, it’s that there’s many great tools for keeping in touch with colleagues. Even long after covid-19, it’s likely that virtual meetings will become more commonplace. Cutting back on face-to-face contact doesn’t mean no contact though. Zoom meetings have really come into their own in recent months, with more than 2.2 million monthly active users. You may want to consider purchasing a portable mobile whiteboard which is a great tool to help visually support engaging brainstorming sessions or project planning via video call.
When you return to working in an office, you might want to call upon colleagues for brainstorming sessions. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, keep 2 metres apart and avoid large groups. You may benefit from taking your meeting outside (where transmission appears to be less problematic) and jot down ideas on a tripod easel or mobile easel; these portable whiteboards can also be used as a flipchart easel.
Keep friends at arm’s length
Human contact may be the one thing we miss most about office life. Yet, it’s important to resist the temptation to sit close to our friends and congregate in groups. It runs the risk in becoming complacent, and that’s when we are likely to let our guard down. Employers may implement desk screens and screen dividers to encourage a safe social distancing office configuration. Observing office signage may be a helpful reminder and prompt to follow social distancing guidelines at all times.
Going outside to get some fresh air and have a screen break is good for your wellbeing. If you decide to go for a walk with a colleague, be sure to exercise social distancing.
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