Social Distancing Guidelines for the Workplace During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Government officials are recommending that all citizens avoid attending events and large assemblies and to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others when in public. These guidelines are designed to limit the spread of infection from person to person because the COVID-19 is highly contagious and can often show little to no symptoms early on. Reducing the rate of infection will alleviate the strain on the healthcare system, and aid in the return of the economy. It also provides more time and funding to develop a vaccine.
The following guidelines will help to maintain a safe working environment during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Avoid – Face-to-face interaction, even when employees are working in the same building. Employees are encouraged to communicate via telephone, email, instant messaging, or online conferencing outlets such as Skype and GoToMeeting. Telecommute from home whenever possible.
Avoid – Large meetings and gatherings. While limiting face-to-face contact is ideal, in-person meetings are often necessary. When planning an in-person meeting, keep it as short as possible and host the meeting in a large room where attendees are at least 6 feet from each other. The meeting room should be properly ventilated and sanitized in advanced.
Avoid – Handshaking, hugging, or touching when greeting. Possible greeting alternatives are using a slight bow, elbow bump or toe kick. Wash your hands after any physical contact with others.
Avoid – Crowded cafeterias and long lines. Employees are encouraged to pick up food and eat in an office or private workspace. Do not dine in the cafeteria, breakroom, or lunchroom. Stay at least 6 feet apart while in food lines. .
Avoid – Public transportation, especially during the crowded rush-hours. Walk, cycle, or drive a personal vehicle whenever possible. If public transportation is a necessity, adjust your schedule to avoid rush-hour.
Avoid – Close contact with coworkers, customers, and vendors. Stay at least 6 feet apart.
Avoid – Unnecessary physical encounters. Encourage clients, customers, and vendors to request information and materials via phone and email to minimize person-to-person contact. If purchased items and materials must be picked up in person, make sure they are ready for fast pick-up or delivery.
Avoid –Visitors in the workplace. Do not congregate in groups larger than 10 people. Limit contact with clients and vendors while outside of your place of work..
Avoid - touching your nose, mouth and eyes. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles.
Avoid - Unnecessary travel for business or pleasure. Cancel or postpone any such travel plans, as well as nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.
Avoid - Contact with coworkers, clients, and vendors showing symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19.
Avoid - Frequent trips to pick up office or miscellaneous supplies. Order online if possible and make sure you are stocked in preparation for a potential outbreak or prolonged quarantine. Sanitize your hands before and after each visit.
Safety - If you or coworker is sick and needs to go to hospital or doctor, call first so precautions can be implemented.
Safety - Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and always dispose of tissues or paper towels in no-touch trash receptacles. When handwashing stations are not available, use hand sanitizer. Sanitize all workplace surfaces. Cough or sneeze into your elbows or a tissue that you immediately dispose of in no-touch trash receptacles. Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
Safety – Be mindful of your mental state and do things promote a healthy and positive environment, such as resting, healthy eating habits, exercise, and meditation. Make sure you are not isolating yourself and interact with virtually close clients, vendors, friends, and family via FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. While practicing social distancing, entertain yourself with television, music and the internet.
Safety – Telecommute whenever possible. Make arrangements for virtual meetings according to the instruction of your supervisors and place of work. Compensation will be available for employees practicing the enforced Social Distancing Guidelines.
Safety – When opening doors and touching surfaces (especially when in the restroom and other public areas), use a paper towel, tissue or disposable glove. Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Sanitize your hands before and after each occurrence.
Safety – Cashiers and stock associates in retail and foodservice should wear gloves and masks, especially when interacting with customers. Dispose of used masks, gloves, and disposable PPE products in no-touch trash receptacles. Always wash or sanitize your hands after removing masks, gloves or other PPE products.
Safety – Always disinfect equipment before and after use. Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean, such as telephones, computer equipment, etc. Avoid using coworkers’ phones, desks, offices, and other work tools. Always inform coworkers of if you use said items and be sure they are disinfected after use.
Safety – If you have a mask available, wear it. If you don’t, follow the suggestion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: homemade cloth masks should be worn in the workplace to avoid spreading the disease. Due to shortages, Respirator Masks (N95) and Surgical Face Masks should only be worn by healthcare professionals.