There’s a chance that if you’re reading this, you fall under a majority of the population who still report to their offices. This normal practice has become a risk in recent weeks as cases of the coronavirus have continued to increase.
And although a good number of workplaces in major Nigerian cities like Lagos have opted for remote working as a way to practice social distancing, some companies, due to the nature of their jobs, still have members of staff working from the office.
To understand how to social distance, it is important to understand what the term means in the first place.
So what is social distancing?
According to Wikipedia, social distancing is a set of actions intended to slow down the rate of a spread of a contagious disease. This is usually accomplished by reducing a person’s contact with other people (who may possibly be infected by the pandemic disease) by self-isolation, or physical distancing.
How then can you practice social distancing in your workplace to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
Space Out Sitting Arrangements
Remember that the idea behind social distancing is primarily to maintain a physical distance with other people to avoid possibly being infected. Also, remember that the coronavirus is spread by droplets from saliva which would most likely spray across people close enough to a person when they sneeze or cough.
Seeing as there aren’t any definite physical symptoms distinguishing a carrier of the virus and a non-infected person, it’s safest to keep members of staff a safe distance from each other.
Rearrange office settings and sitting arrangements to the barest. Make sure a single office space only carries at most ten employees. As an additional measure, encourage employees to self-distance from each other even during lunch hours and after work hours.
Lifting up the office’s close hours to an earlier time could be an additional measure in practising social distancing as members of staff can avoid peak or rush hours and wisely, coming in contact with crowded spaces.
Set at least a Distance of Six-Feet from Colleagues
Encourage employees to keep a safe enough distance from each other. Shaking of hands, hugging, and activities involving physical contact should be avoided among members of staff.
Equip employees with trusted information on the virus, symptoms, and how it spreads. This way, they’ll be more cautious to take self-distancing measures more seriously.
Draw up a Remote Working Calendar
Should the company have a large number of staff, drawing up a remote-working plan could help. Allocate shifts for members of staff to work from home. This way, there aren’t too many people physically present in the workplace at the same time.
A simple enough strategy works fine.
Limit Face-to-Face Meetings
To avoid placing members of staff in danger by keeping them together in an enclosed space, cut off physical meetings entirely or limit them if necessary to only a few people and for only a few minutes.
Applications like Zoom, Hangout, and Skype, are great tools for keeping up communication in a work setting.
Maintain Anti-COVID-19 Habits
Equip the workplace with good hand soaps and sanitizers at strategic positions such as; the entrance, restrooms, hallways, etc. equip the office entrance with a thermometer to ensure that members of staff are properly screened before gaining entrance into the office building.
Sick employees should be sent home and set up for isolation as soon as possible.
As your company practices social-distancing, also remember to place your employees’ emotional needs as top priority.