Social Distancing in the Office

women in office sitting away from others

With the UK Government starting to relax some of the lockdown measures and more people returning to office-based work, it’s important to know exactly how to manage increased numbers of people working together in the office.

At Tanshire Park we have laid out some measures to help people work safely so that we can continue to protect ourselves, our clients, families and anyone else with whom we may come into contact. However, it is important that each company uses the latest official guidelines to decide on their own safe working practices individually. The measures outlined below are some suggestions of how to work safely and are informed by the UK government guidelines however, please always pay attention to the official up-to-date advice from the government, NHS and World Health Organisation as this may change over time.

Returning to the Office Safely

Make it clear to your team that, if they can work from home they should continue to do so and that returning to the office is a voluntary option, not a requirement.

It is also important to stay at home if you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling the slightest bit unwell and seek professional medical advice. Better safe than sorry!

Social Distancing

It is important to keep 2 metres away from each other at all times, however, this may appear to present some difficulties in an open plan office space.  Think about where people can sit in the office to maintain this distance and don’t forget and the distances between desks and seated colleagues where people may have to pass each other. It is also important to consider communal high traffic and ‘pinch point’ areas such as corridors and stairwells. Using a tape measure to check the distances and drawing a plan of the office with desks which can be used, as well as a maximum capacity, will help you to plan how many people can return to the office safely at any one time.

Air Conditioning

At Tanshire Park we have recommended that all offices shut off the A/C units as these will only help to circulate any airborne contagion.

Cleaning

Keeping surfaces and equipment clean is obviously going to help stop the spread of any contagion. At Tanshire park we have asked tenants to consider how often their offices are cleaned and to consider increasing the number of times a week that their cleaners attend.

You could speak to your cleaners about their methods and products used to ensure that communal items are included in their regular cleaning rotation, such as door handles and chair armrests, and that these are cleaned with disinfectant. Your staff may want to take on some of the responsibility of keeping their work areas sanitised, for their own peace of mind, and can be encouraged to wipe down their desk, computer equipment and chair on a regular basis to support this.

Hygiene

Encouraging your team to wash their hands regularly and to avoid touching their faces will help to minimize the potential spread of the virus, if it is present. Ensure there is a plentiful supply of liquid hand soap and hand gel at various points around the office. Each individual should have access to hand gel at their desk and be reminded to wash their hands more often for 20 seconds.

At Tanshire Park, there is a hand sanitising gel dispenser at the entrance to each building so that everyone can sanitise their hands immediately after entering and before leaving the office.

Bathrooms

toilet cleaning in office space

Facilities of more than one cubicle are often too cramped to allow for social distancing. Where this is the case, Tanshire Park has implemented a one-in-one-out policy with a “Vacant/Engaged” sign on the outer door to prevent people from accidentally running into one another.

Kitchen

Communal areas may be a particular challenge, especially if these are shared between companies. It may be best to be extra vigilant with regards to the cleanliness of your items. Ask your team to wash crockery and cutlery before use and to stick to one mug throughout the day, where possible. Personalised items may be an efficient and simple way to minimise accidental cross-contamination.

Equipment

office desk cleaning

Hot desking has become quite popular in recent years but often requires sharing equipment between multiple people. It may be an idea to ask your, team, to be more diligent about their external keyboards and mice at this time and to clean them regularly to prevent any potential cross-contamination.

Any more ideas?

This is not an exhaustive list! If you have any good ideas of how you are keeping your team safe at this difficult time, please let us know!