With the recent coronavirus pandemic, many business owners have been faced with difficult decisions regarding how to practice social distancing in their workplace. Depending on local regulations, some businesses have been required to reduce or suspend operations, others have sent all of their employees home to work remotely, and others have been deemed essential businesses that must stay open to continue providing their services. Whether your workers have gone remote or continue to work onsite, how can employers support their employees in practicing social distancing?
If Employees Are Working Remotely
Workers still need daily interaction and ways to stay connected, productive, and informed. Although everyone may not be in the same room or building anymore, there are ways employers can support their employees that are working from home, including:
- Cementing an understanding of what tasks certain team members will continue to be responsible for, and make sure everyone knows what’s expected
- Asking for consistent reports or updates on projects, KPIs, and deliverables
- Using video meetings, instant messaging platforms, and conference lines to keep everyone connected
- Asking employees for feedback on how remote work is going; what’s going well, and what isn’t? Listen well and take action to make improvements
Not only do these practices help keep your team productive and connected during social distancing, but it may also help reduce any feelings of isolation people may be experiencing as they spend their time at home and get used to a different workspace.
If Employees Are Working Onsite
As employees continue to come into the office, to the store, or to the healthcare facility, take a look at the CDC’s interim guidance for businesses and employees. The CDC provides recommendations for implementing social distancing in the workplace itself, including:
- Creating an alternative schedule so there are less workers present at one time
- Implementing floor tape to show people where to stand or work, six feet apart, in order to reduce person-to-person contact
- Posting visual reminders that ask employees, customers, and visitors to maintain social distancing practices
- Implementing flexible sick leave policies and encouraging employees to stay at home if they feel sick
Working while social distancing isn’t easy. No matter the situation for your business, changing circumstances have surely led to important discussion between employers and staff, as employers need to fully understand what workers are can do and how best to serve them. It can be challenging to establish a unified workplace during social distancing, but the success of navigating this will help ensure a safe and profitable business.
- How can social distancing be practiced in the workplace?
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- How can I ask customers to practice social distancing in the checkout line?
- What tools can be used to practice social distancing?
- What policies can employers implement to enforce social distancing?
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