While none of us possess a crystal ball that will provide us these answers with complete certainty, we do know this: sooner or later, offices will reopen and employees will return to work. And when that happens, it is critical that we don’t immediately go back to “the way things were.”
Fighting COVID-19 and protecting our citizens will be a continued effort, and that means maintaining safe social distancing practices. To help drive that initiative, Property Concepts Commercial is encouraging all businesses to adopt the “6 Feet Office” philosophy for their workplace.
Social distancing is the best tool we have to prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. While many businesses and employees are eager to get back to work as soon as it’s safe to do so, it’s important to be strategic. The 6 Feet Office is a conceptual idea that aims to help companies become operational as quickly, cost-efficiently, and safely as possible.
1. 6 Feet Quick Scan
Management should conduct a concise but thorough analysis of the current working environment, and identify opportunities for improvement within the scope of health and virus safety. What new rules can be implemented to protect the health of employees?
2. 6 Feet Rules
Management should create a set of clear, simple, and effective rules of conduct that put the health and well-being of all employees at the forefront. For example, all employees should maintain a distance of at least six feet from one another.
Signage and markings in elevators, bathrooms, cafeterias, supply rooms, lobbies, and other shared spaces can help enforce these guidelines.
3. 6 Feet Routing
Management should develop safe routing and traffic flow guidelines that support social distancing. For example, employees should always travel clockwise around the office, to create one-directional traffic flow and prevent accidental run-ins.
These rules should be clearly displayed within the office using signage and directional arrows on the floor.
4. 6 Feet Workstation
Management should design fully equipped workspaces that enable every employee to work safely. For example, place designated floor markings around each desk to visually outline the 6-foot bubble. Coworkers should not enter these bubbles at any desk except their own.
Additionally, instruct every employee to grab a clean paper desk sheet each morning when they enter the office, to protect their workspace. At the end of the day, employees will throw out the used desk sheet, leaving behind a clean desk. Contact us if you’d like some; we’d love to deliver them to you.
5. 6 Feet Facility
Management should select a trained employee to advise on and operationally ensure a safe, optimally functioning workplace. This designated employee should verify that rules are being followed, and seek opportunities to implement new best practices.
6. 6 Feet Certificate
Management should display a certificate or other signage indicating that measures have been taken to implement a virus-safe working environment. The key is to create a workspace that continues to make employees feel welcome and comfortable while encouraging them to act responsibly and follow posted rules.
Keeping safe social distances is a widely-accepted part of our current society. Companies who continue to embrace this concept and adjust accordingly during this critical time period are more likely to enjoy lower absenteeism due to illness, higher employee satisfaction, and higher rates of talent retention.