The four most common questions about introducing the 1.5-metre rule
For many managers, making the office corona-proof required some quick MacGyvering. It looks like socially distanced society will be with us for a while, though, so it’s a good idea to give its implementation some careful thought and attention. At Viking, we’ve noticed that there’s still a lot of uncertainty around making offices corona-proof. In this blog, we’re answering the four most common questions about how workplaces can be safer and socially distanced.
- Can you put plexiglass screens between employees?
A plexiglass screen viking is a good solution in places where it’s not possible to keep a 1.5-metre distance, such as in conference rooms. Employees can sit next to each other at the conference table with a screen between them. However, we would advise trying to make it possible for colleagues to maintain social distance as much as possible and only deploying plexiglass in places where it’s impossible to keep a distance, such as at reception or in conference rooms.
Pay close attention to quality when purchasing plexiglass. All plexiglass is definitely not the same. For example, the thin plexiglass that looks like foil is of lower quality than the sturdy plexiglass.
- Are shared workspaces still possible?
Many offices had already started so-called “flex work”, where specific groups of employees take turns working in the office. In this flexible work model, it’s not necessary to provide a workspace for every single employee. Employees share a workspace that they clean at the beginning and end of their working day.
Even when each employee doesn’t have a separate workspace, however, we recommend giving each one their own keyboard and mouse. A keyboard can be like a telephone: a breeding ground for bacteria. Separate equipment was good for employees before and especially important now.
- How many people can ride the lift at once?
We recommend a maximum of two people in the lift at a time, assuming they can stay 1.5 metres away from each other. Otherwise, only one person should take the lift. To help with this, it’s a good idea to mark out 1.5 meters with tape on the floor, so employees know how to keep a distance as they enter and exit.
- How can you prevent the office from getting noisy?
In order to stay 1.5 meters apart, employees are now speaking loudly with each other. Using plexiglass can make offices safer, but it can also make acoustics less pleasant. A few simple adjustments, however, will help you beat the noise. You can divide the space using large, soft materials. One way to do that would be setting up high benches for a meeting space. Another sure-fire noise-dampener is rugs. There are also special wall panels that soften echoes and make acoustics gentler on the ear.
Ultimately, social distancing in the office stands or falls on employees’ behaviour. People are loosening up now and possibly getting a bit too relaxed. It’s important to help employees follow distancing guidelines as much as possible. You can use stickers to lay out clear walking routes on the floor. You can put in plexiglass partitions where keeping distance is difficult. If you instead just demand that employees keep a distance, it can become unworkable for employees and they are less likely to follow the rules. It’s safer to make it easier for everyone in the office to stay socially distanced.
If you’re looking for the material to make your office corona-proof, check on the Viking ‘Back to Work’ catalogue.