How to Encourage Social Distancing at Work

Just a few weeks ago, we published a post called “How Will the Workplace Change Over the Next 5 Years?” The first words were:

“Nobody has a crystal ball to gaze upon our future workplace, but one thing is certain:

The world of work in 2025 will be markedly different from today.”

Little did we know at the time that the coronavirus had already infected thousands in China, and was on its way to creating a global pandemic.

Now, we’re faced with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace by implementing “social distancing” measures. In this case, the CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

How can you encourage social distancing at work – and still get work done?

Below, we share practical guidance from the CDC and Johns Hopkins University experts:

  • Implement a “no hugs, no handshakes” policy.
  • Increase physical space between workers at the worksite to a minimum of 6 feet.
  • Stagger work schedules to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at any one time. With fewer employees in a workspace, it’s easier to increase space among them.
  • Decrease social contacts in the workplace (e.g., limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.).
  • Reschedule or cancel organization-wide events such as conferences.
  • Download and use our FREE Social Distancing Posters throughout your workplace.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) also recommends that every workplace implement the following basic hygiene and social distancing precautions to prevent disease transmission. Take time to encourage staff and your coworkers to follow these best practices:

  • Encourage sick employees to stay at home.
  • Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or with hand sanitizer if there is no soap or water available. 
  • Encourage employees to avoid touching their noses, mouths, and eyes.
  • Encourage employees to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeves if tissues are not available – and then wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer afterward.
  • Employees should always wash their hands after contact with others. Even if employees wear gloves, they should wash their hands upon removal of the gloves in case their hand(s) became contaminated during the removal process.
  • Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles, and with a place to wash or disinfect their hands.
  • Keep work surfaces, telephones, computer equipment and other frequently touched surfaces and office equipment clean. Be sure that any cleaner used is safe and will not harm your employees or your office equipment. Use only disinfectants registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and follow all directions and safety precautions indicated on the label.
  • Discourage employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment.
  • When meetings are necessary, avoid close contact by keeping a separation of at least 6 feet, where possible, and assure that there is proper ventilation in the meeting room.
  • Workplaces which permit customers, visitors and/or family members on site (including daycare) should consider restricting/eliminating that option during a pandemic.

PrideStaff is here to help.

Our national staffing and employment agency is prepared to help you overcome tough challenges by:

  • Helping job seekers find job opportunities with essential businesses
  • Finding the qualified workers you need to get your work done
  • Cost-effectively flexing your workforce
  • Developing creative staffing solutions to implement social distancing
  • Improving your organizational agility
  • Helping you stay safe at work

What can we do for you? Whether you’re an essential business looking for support, or you’re looking for a job during these uncertain times, we are here to help. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.