With the outbreak of COVID19 (Coronavirus) pandemic the one practise that has become of utmost importance is that of social distancing. While right now a vaccine to cure it is under development stage and no one is certain about the time it would take the alternative choice or vaccine as one could say is social distancing. While everyone is to maintain it around their locality & home but it is more important to follow social distancing at workplace at this crucial time and even after things become normal.
1. Scheduling Shifts
Instead of calling all employees at the same time you can schedule shifts so that there are less number of employees at any given time. Rotating tasks so that while some employees work remotely while one will handle the workplace responsibility. Also, implementing staggered shifts will also help. The time between shifts could be effectively utilized for thoroughly sanitizing the workplace.
2. No Handshake Policy
Employees should be encouraged to avoid physical contacts like handshakes and hugs while greeting & interacting with their colleagues. They should be made more aware about maintaining the six-foot rule i.e. maintaining 6 foot or two metres or two to three arms distance from the other employees. Through this they will not get in contact with any person who is infected but yet unknown.
3. No Visitor Policy
Do not allow any outside visitor inside the workplace other that authorised employees. These outside visitors will highly increase the risk of your employees & other staff getting infected.
4. Virtual Meetings/ No Meetings
Shift from in-person meeting to virtual meeting or emails or through any electronic medium wherever possible. If the meeting is very much important & unavoidable then make it very very short. Encourage the staff to telework between the departments when feasible instead of going to each other’s desk.
5. Changing Workplace Design
Insertion of partitions to raise the height of the wall between cubicles. You can also ensure distancing making them sit every alternate desk which will leave the necessary space between them. Making these physical barriers in the seating arrangement will ensure the reduction in the spread of infectious droplets of viruses.
Apart from these measures including some other small but important measures like encouraging the employees to take their meals on their own desk, avoiding work related gatherings, not having staff meetings and after work functions will definitely help. While there is the risk of productivity, efficiency & operations being affected due to social distancing but taking pre-emptive measures like providing them with proper communication systems & software & enabling managers & HR’s to manage the tasks & handle employee needs & responses will do the trick.