What will social distancing look like in our workplaces, and how can we ensure that we continue to do our best for ourselves and our employees in the long run? are some of the questions to consider when developing robust social distancing rules and protocols in the workplace.

Along with planning a staggered approach to entering the office, there are several key areas that must be addressed in order to safely return to work:

  1. Determine the number of employees versus the available desk space. Create a desk seating chart that is appropriate for physical separation.
  2. Disseminate physical distancing guidelines to employees via signage in common areas and at entry/exit points.
  3. Establish a contact-tracing mechanism to identify any social interactions as well as to track back in the event of a medical emergency.

As a result, there is an urgent need for workplaces to adopt a flexible approach to working.

Workspace planning:

The Human Resources team will first collaborate with business managers and team leads to determine exact headcounts, as well as which employees can be temporarily remote-based and which should be brought back to the office on a priority basis.

Space management can be accomplished by limiting the number of days an employee can book an office desk, and business rules can be defined across teams to form employee groups that work alternate weeks or on different floors, ensuring business continuity.

Empathizing best practices in the workplace:

Consistent communication with employees will be critical in outlining best practices and providing assistance as they return to the office. Signatures and signboards strategically placed at critical workplace junctures can aid in safety reminders such as social distancing, good hand hygiene, symptom checks, and desk space cleaning recommendations. Provide employees with additional channels of communication through which they can express any concerns they may have.