Only a few months ago, no one could have predicted that social distancing and self-isolation will become an essential part of our daily lives. However, it is important to note that it is simply not possible to stay indoors now that businesses across the country are starting to reopen.
Whether you are heading outside to exercise, do a grocery run, or run necessary errands, you need to maintain social distancing so you can protect yourself and others around from the risk of contracting the virus. Since most people are returning to work, one of the most important challenges businesses are facing has to do with maintaining social distancing in the workplace.
In this blog post, we will take a look at some effective tips on how businesses can encourage their employees to keep a safe distance from each other and implement an effective social distancing policy in the workplace.
Before we can proceed, you should note that every workplace is different and faces unique challenges, so the guidance may differ based on the setting and job responsibilities of the employees.
Importance of Social Distancing
Social distancing involves making sure there’s sufficient physical space between yourself and others outside your household. This is a vital practice that can significantly help slow down the spread of the virus.
Whether you fall in one of the high-risk groups or not, it is advisable that you follow social distancing recommendations provided by your local government to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The only way social distancing can work effectively and save lives is if everyone participates and learns how to do it the right way.
Maintaining Social Distancing in the Workplace
When you’re done with the initial process of helping your employees understand the health and safety practices and implementing necessary precautions, you need to come up with a strategic plan of how you will maintain social distancing in the workplace.
Implementing social distancing measures is not going to be anything less than a challenge. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the importance of social distancing. Here are some effective measures that can help you ensure that your employees are keeping a safe distance from each other.
1. Install Cough and Sneeze Guards
You may have heard about cough and sneeze shields that restaurants in the 1950s were the first to install, especially for salad bars and ‘all you can eat’ buffets to keep guests from contaminating the food. You will be surprised to learn that similar cough and sneeze guard can now be used in all kinds of settings to serve as a blockade against the contagious virus that has disrupted the lives of many.
These shields are not medical devices, but they come with PPE qualities that are known to contribute to transmission slowdown, even if, for some reason, an employee or visitor does not have their mask on. Moreover, these guards will provide everyone in your workplace much-needed reassurance of safety so they can adjust to the new normal.
Taking this step will show your employees how your business is dedicated to their health and remind them to take precautions to prevent the spread of this virus.
2. Encourage Social Distancing with Floor Stickers
Another great option you should consider is social distancing floor stickers. They are an ideal solution if you want to encourage your employees to practice social distancing. These floor stickers have been around for many years and are generally used to guide visitors around commercial spaces.
You can get custom social distancing floor stickers made to remind everyone to keep a safe distance from each other and that even though they may have returned to their usual work setting, the COVID-19 is still just as real as it was when the lockdown began.
3. Conduct Health and Safety Checks for Social Distancing
It is advisable that you review your risk assessment regularly because now that people are back, you need to change measures and implement specific processes in place to ensure everyone’s staying protected.
If you notice that your employees are failing to follow the recommended measure, you may have to consider going down a disciplinary route. This will remind your employees that they need to take COIVD-19 seriously and always keep social distancing at the forefront of their minds.
Here are some crucial Healthy and Safety checks that you need to conduct in the workplace:
- In work areas, make sure that everyone is always at least two metres apart. If it is simply not possible for the employees to stay two metres apart, you need to make sure they are taking all possible precautions.
- It is also important to keep all communal areas secure by following guidelines provided by your local government.
- Install handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser dispensing stations all over the workplace so the employees can maintain proper hygiene and stay protected.
- Provide your employees with relevant information and guidance so they can stay safe even when they are not in the workplace.
4. Formulate a Social Distancing Policy
A great way to maintain social distancing is by formulating a policy. Social distancing covers both health and safety and HR, which is why you should include both areas when you’re creating the policy.
Make sure to highlight the health and safety measures your company’s going to put in place and highlight the HR processes that you are planning to take if your employees do not comply with the guidelines.
Since each workplace is unique, there may be risks that your business will face that other businesses like yours don’t. Keep those issues in mind when you are developing the social distancing policy to ensure that you have put all the crucial measures in place.
Even if your employees are young and healthy and think that their chances of getting sick are pretty slim, you need to tell them that they may be putting elderly people that they interact with at serious risk by not practicing social distancing.
Keep these tips in mind to ensure that all the employees in your workplace are following the guidelines and taking precautions to protect themselves and others around them.
Richard Kearsey is a digital designer at Emerald Colour – a graphic design agency in London that offers various services, like website design, animation, bespoke exhibition stand design, etc. He loves creativity and enjoys experimenting with various design techniques for both web and print. He also enjoys sharing his thought on the latest design trends and upcoming marketing ideas.