We’re all facing numerous challenges as the world gets back to work, and offices, restaurants, factories, warehouses and more begin to re-open their doors.

From limited numbers of people and one-way traffic flows to entrance-point sanitizing and wearing of masks, there really are elements of the current reality that will feel alien for some time to come.

And, of course, once we’re actually at our workstations, we’ll all need to adhere to the social distancing guidelines as set out by UK Government – maintaining social distance being one of the core practices we’ll all need to follow.

But how can we make daily life at the office more bearable? We’re naturally a social nation, and enjoy the conversation, camaraderie and buzz of interacting with our colleagues and at times it may feel difficult to maintain these elements because of the Covid-19 regulations.

Here are 7 simple tips to help you maintain safe social distance whilst remaining engaged with your work colleagues, customers and suppliers.

  1. Clear screen fixed barriers between workstations will allow you to see your colleagues, and converse and interact like you normally do, but prevent the spread of germs between the stations.
  2. Label or mark your stationery, crockery, cutlery etc. so that you’re able to identify and use your own, rather than shared items.
  3. Stay 1.5-2m apart when you’re chatting to colleagues in the corridor or similar – at this distance you can maintain eye contact (even if you’re wearing a mask) and hold conversations as normal.
  4. If possible, source a clear mask for use at work – a large part of our facial expressions and meaning are conveyed by our mouths. Just smiling, for example, can really brighten up a colleague or customer’s day, and a clear mask will allow you to show that you’re smiling at them!
  5. With limited numbers of team members allowed into workplaces on certain days or at certain times, it would be useful to stagger the roster so that all team members work together at some point during a working week. This way, staff are able to check up on each other, share experiences and feel more part of the overall team.
  6. Keep talking! Team leaders and managers need to communicate regularly on updates from Government, changes in policy, new or mitigated risks or threats, or unforeseen issues that have been raised by staff that need to be addressed. A lack of communication can lead to a feeling of disconnectedness and isolation which impacts negatively on productivity and the mental health of the workforce. Make sure to canvass your team regularly to identify any concerns or queries!
  7. Get socially-distanced-social – one of the great aspects of working in a team is the social aspects, whether it’s a sports day, drinks at the pub, regular activities or simply coffee mornings in the office. With these all a no-go for now, move into the digital space by organising online quizzes, birthday or special occasion video calls and regular online check-ins to build spirit and unity. You can even arrange for exercise classes, yoga or meditation classes to be done online!

The current crisis won’t last forever, and over the course of time things will in all likelihood return to normal. In the meantime, the above techniques will not only help you maintain a positive outlook and a productive workplace, but you may well be surprised about how resourceful you and your team become, and how many of those techniques will embed themselves in daily behaviour going forward.

For guidance and advice on setting up office workspaces with social distancing in mind, contact Officescape LLP today on 01223 581185 or info@officescapellp.co.uk.

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