How to implement social distancing in the workplace

Posted on 27 March '20 by , under people.

With COVID-19 threatening the health and safety of all communities around the world, it is now more important than ever to practise social distancing in the workplace. Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases and as the name implies, lessens the amount of contact between you and other people.

It is important to apply social distancing wherever possible within your workplace to minimise the risks of person-to-person infection and fulfil the responsibility you have to the safety and health of your colleagues and clients.

In the context of a workplace, social distancing means avoiding direct contact with your colleagues through a number of effective methods, including:

  • Staying at home if you feel unwell or are sick
  • Implementing work-from-home measures wherever possible
  • Dividing in-office work hours between employees to reduce the number of people in an indoor space at any given time
  • Stopping handshaking as a greeting – emerging alternatives include the “elbow bump” or a pat on the back
  • Moving office meetings to online video or phone calls
  • Limiting food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • Having employees take lunch at their desk rather than in a communal lunchroom
  • Cancelling non-essential business travels
  • Promoting good hygiene practice such as coughing/sneezing into elbows
  • Providing disinfectants and hand sanitisers for all staff to use during working hours
  • Opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for better ventilation

As COVID-19 grows in severity, consider how you can enforce any of the above social distancing measures in your workplace and how you can encourage others to do the same.