5 Ways to Maintain Office Social Distancing in 2022

Jacquelyn Wong
Jacquelyn, the first non-technical hire at OfficeTogether, graduated from Stanford University and is currently pursuing a professional MBA program at UC Berkeley. She brings extensive operations and analytics experience from big-name companies like Coinbase and Google.

“Social distancing” is not a new term to us – we’ve heard it repeatedly as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on and now, with the Omicron variant spreading rapidly, we know it is especially important. We’ve learned about the importance of slowing the spread of the virus by maintaining a safe distance from others. While encouraged in public, we should also adhere to these practices in the office. So, now what? How can we maintain a safe distance in a tight space, especially when it comes to team meetings and brainstorming sessions? We’ll walk you through specific strategies and tactics employers can institute, allowing employees to return to work safely.

Social Distancing in the Office

While some office spaces may be tricky to navigate, you can take out-of-the-box measures to ensure team members’ health and safety. Here are five ways you can provide adequate office social distancing.

Blue sign reminding employees to keep a safe distance from one another

1. Adjust Shifts

By adjusting or staggering shifts, employers can minimize the number of people in the office at one time, which allows for more space between employees. For instance, if a certain team or department needs to meet together in person, grant them the in-person shifts that week while other departments remain at home. Supervisors can also schedule their designated day(s) for their departments to be in the office, reducing exposure and allowing six feet between desks/employees. Businesses may also want to consider allowing flexible work hours, where the office is open earlier or later to accommodate all in-person meeting needs.

2. Install Barriers/Partitions

The CDC guidelines for social distancing in offices suggest that businesses install barriers and/or partitions where appropriate. This will help keep employees from cross-contaminating one another and encourage people to stay at a safe distance from their coworkers.

3. Institute New Policies and Focus on Awareness

While many offices have already taken action, it would be wise (at least for the time being) to institute a no-visitor policy. This will reduce the number of people coming in and out of the office at any given time while also limiting unnecessary in-person interactions. To help with social distancing efforts, think about placing reminders around the office to reinstate these policy rules.

4. Consider Collaboration

Depending on how a company structures its workflow, collaboration and streamlining tasks can help social distancing efforts. For example, if different employees are responsible for similar tasks, some supervisors may want to combine those assignments and give them to one person who will handle those in-office responsibilities. This will limit the number of employees that must be in the office to perform their job.

5. Discourage Physical Contact

Discouraging employees to engage in any sort of physical contact can be difficult, especially in an environment where handshaking is the norm. However, to ensure germs aren’t rapidly spread around the office, encouraging employees to refrain from shaking hands will help keep everyone healthy and safe. Even the elbow bump is questionable, but hey, we’ll allow excuses for special occasions…

Welcome Back to the Office

Office desks and chairs set up to allow for collaboration while maintaining safe social distancing practices

Companies with smaller offices may find it difficult to facilitate social distancing. These companies can use a software for health checks and contact tracing to keep employees safe and healthy. Businesses that have primarily worked remotely over the last year and a half may struggle to comprehend the task of returning safely to the office. Yet there are solutions for companies that would benefit from both in-person and remote working styles.

That’s where desk booking comes in.

OfficeTogether allows team members to split time between their home and in-person offices, encouraging a productive workflow while maintaining social distancing in the office.

Jacquelyn Wong5 Ways to Maintain Office Social Distancing in 2022