Overcoming COVID-19: Ways to Encourage Social Distancing for On-Site Employees
Employers have a duty to protect the health, safety, and well-being of their workforce and anyone who might be affected by their operations. You need to assess how you can operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic as per the guidelines provided by the government. This includes assessing what social distancing measure you can implement to help workers and customers stay safe. Below are some of the ways you can consider to encourage social distancing for your on-site employees.
If there are low or no cubicle walls in common areas in your workplace, consider inserting partitions to raise cubicle wall heights and create a higher physical barrier between your workers. You can add plexiglass dividers in common areas like coffee rooms and changing rooms to allow workers to interact with each other while maintaining a safe distance. This will help reduce the spread of infectious droplets should an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Social distancing accessories can be very effective in ensuring workers and clients maintain a safe distance with each other at any given time.
You can also revisit and revise your seating arrangements to ensure workers or clients aren’t sitting too close to each other. You may consider using alternate desks and rotational remote work, especially if you have a close or congested open workplace.
The government is against having visitors in workplaces unless it’s necessary. You should start a no-visitor policy to only allow authorised personnel into the entire workplace or particular areas and under what circumstances they should be allowed in. This also includes the workers who aren’t scheduled to be in the facility at that particular time, regardless of whether they want to drop in to pick up some items or whichever reason.
Deliveries from essential supplies to lunch drop-offs should be restricted to a single entrance where possible to ensure everyone sanitises before entering the facility. You need to limit how staff use the rest areas, canteens and other common places to avoid overcrowding at any given time. Ensure to also increase awareness around the 6-foot rule (two- to three-arm’s length) from one another.
You need to encourage the use of digital and remote interactions where possible rather than in-person interactions. If you must have a meeting with a group of on-site employees for brainstorming, collaborative endeavours, or shift huddles, it’s important to hold the meetings remotely. Ensure you have the right technology such as tablets and laptops to log into online meetings. You can use apps such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype For Business, and GoToMeeting. This will allow the workers to just sit at their workstations or just outside while collaborating.
You should consider implementing rotational shifts, staggered shifts and flexible work hours to help keep your workforce safe. You can implement staggered shifts if your line of work demands a certain number of workers be on-site to help handle complex tasks. Allowing flexible work hours will also ensure there are fewer workers on-site at any given time. Staggered shifts will also ensure there’s sufficient time between shifts to thoroughly sanitise workstations, especially the common places in the workplace.