Traffic and crowd control is a key factor in social distancing, and you may have started creating a plan to enforce such regulations in your own workplace. Don’t forget to address the exterior of entrances and exits on your floor plan – your employees, guests, and delivery specialists will love you for it. Prevent that defeated feeling you get after an “Excuse me – you’re going to need to use the other door”. But I’m right here. I made all this effort to be here. Had I know that was the entrance over there – I would have been there! Trust us with the amount of deliveries we make – we promise you that having a well-marked building really helps.
It’s important to make a quick impression and communicate your guest policy immediately. Your greeting area which once welcomed warm handshakes and hellos has been replaced by messaging about face masks, socially-distanced furniture, and in some cases Body Temperature Checks and requests for travel documentation. To emphasize safety during this time, let’s mark our floors to keep guests distant from each other as they wait to be greeted by your Director of First Impressions. Let’s clearly mark areas where guests can rest while they wait to be seen, encourage the use of hand sanitizer as they just entered from the outside world and please please please no shaking hands for the time being. Not that we don’t want to, it’s just, you know, a Pandemic.
The Washington Post deemed the bathroom a major area of concern, coining it “a barrier to reopening”. Many organizations will look to create the “touchless” restroom and help prevent the spread of germs in this area. Right from the very beginning of this pandemic there may have been no clearer message to the world than simply wash your hands. Try to go five minutes without touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, it’s nearly impossible which is why the CDC encourages handwashing after what feels like every moment of your life, and none more important than a trip to the restroom. Place signs around your restroom – near the sinks, on doors, etc. – to remind employees and guests of handwashing techniques to best slow the spread of germs.
In the past decade, the emergence of break rooms has been incredible benefit for employees. The way to your employee’s heart is through their stomach and providing complimentary beverages and snacks can improve productivity. Now this area of culture-building, unwinding, or powering-up is a prime area for risk. You know that guy in the break room always washing his coffee mug, telling you about his take on the latest article from Barstool Sports or Huffington Post. Use signage to remind him to usher himself along or have a conversation from a minimum of six feet away. And wash those hands while you’re at it!
This is definitely a tricky one, as there are many individuals who require passage to move throughout their building and these tight spaces cause significant challenges for social distancing. Whether you are limiting traffic from the lobby or from the loading dock these convenient lifts offer a significant challenge in social distancing. Create a policy that provides safe access to the elevator for employees and guests that need it. Cushman Wakefield’s “Guide to Reopening the Workplace” suggests “using a queue management for waiting passengers, posting social distancing signage concerning passenger limits, and adding floor stickers to establish safe distance zones showing where to stand and which direction to face.” This would also be a good place for a facemask reminder.
Don’t stop here – think of the lobby, HR department, other general office areas, point-of-sale countertops, additional exterior building spots, and so many more. Overall, making sure your signs give a clear and concise message of safety to your guests and employees will help ease the transition back into the world.
1. MA Advisory Board. “Reopening Massachusetts” Mass.Gov, 18 May 2020, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download. Accessed 19 May 2020.
2. Hohmann, James. “Bathrooms are a barrier to reopening from coronavirus”, The Daily 202’s Big Idea, The Washington Post, 19 May 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/daily-202-big-idea/bathrooms-are-a-barrier-to-reopening-from-coronavirus/. Accessed 21 May 2020.
3. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “When and How to Wash Your Hands”, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 2 April 2020, www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html. Accessed 20 May 2020.
4. Cushman & Wakefield. “Recovery Readiness a how-to guide for reopening your workplace”, Version 1, Cushman & Wakefield, 22 April 2020, www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/insights/covid-19/recovery-readiness-a-how-to-guide-for-reopening-your-workplace. Accessed 27 May 2020.