What is social distancing?

As offices and businesses reopen, social distancing measures can help stave off waves of contagion. In the current situation of change and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 virus, social distancing has become a rule in nowadays life. Social distancing involves being separated from other people in a physical environment, within the limits of health regulations.

The fundamental rule is to maintain 1.5 metres of interpersonal separation. Also, it requires additional actions such as reducing office capacity and limiting the number of workers allowed in in-person meetings.

The spacing between desks allows companies to continue efforts to limit the spread of the virus while safely resuming business practices in the "new normal", providing greater security and peace of mind for their employees. 

Social distancing at work also requires building managers or anyone who works in closed spaces to be knowledgeable about preventive measures and how to apply them in different settings. In this way, possible risks are identified and mitigated early and effectively.

Social distancing, also called "physical distancing", should be practised in combination with other everyday preventive actions to ensure the people’s well-being. Some examples are:

- Use of a mask, especially in places where the minimum safety distance cannot be guaranteed.

- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, especially if they have not been previously disinfected.

- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Why is this important?

Social distancing is essential to ensure everyone’s well-being, especially those who are at higher risk of more severe symptoms due to an existing health condition. 

Measures before, during and after going to work

Based on the good practices guide from the Ministry of Labour for offices during these times, we have prepared this section with recommendations that all workers must comply with to be safe

Before

- If you present with symptoms such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, etc., it is recommended that you isolate yourself and you do not go to work. In this case, you must comply with this decalogue.

- If you have been in contact with an infected person, it is recommended that you do go to the office for a minimum period of 14 days and isolate yourself. 

- You should not go to work if you are in the risk group. If you cannot telework, you should speak to your doctor.

During

- When travelling to the workplace, try to choose a mode of transportation that prioritizes social distancing

- Make sure you wear a mask

- Try to disinfect any surfaces you touch.

- Keep a distance between work desks of at least 1.5 metres. Apply the same rule in other common areas. If you work with co-workers, try to minimize contact. 

- Consult your company about staggering entry hours and working hours. Also, request that they provide you with all the necessary materials (hydro alcoholic gel, masks, etc.) to guarantee your safety at work. 

After

- Find out about the company's action protocol should someone display symptoms or has been in direct contact with a person who tests positive for Covid-19. 

- Before you get home, try to disinfect all the equipment you carry with you. 

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How to maintain your distance at work

Organizations that cannot implement teleworking must apply social distancing measures for on-site employees. Here we explain how. 

Always maintain a distance of 1.5 metres

Being within 1.5 metres of other people helps to minimize the spread of viruses transmitted through airborne particles. Since many people do not show clear symptoms of having contracted the virus, keeping a safe distance from everyone is the safest way to avoid risk.

Wearing a mask correctly

According to the Ministry of Health recommendations, the first thing you should do is wash your hands well before touching the mask, and check to see that it is not broken. Place the stiff edge over the nose, facing outward, and be sure to cover the nose, mouth, and chin without leaving any gaps. 

 

Once the mask is on, try not to touch it. When you want to remove the mask, do so from the back without touching the front, dispose of it in a closed bin and wash your hands well. Be sure to accompany this measure with others, such as interpersonal distancing. 

Choose outdoor spaces for meetings

For some companies, virtual meetings are not as productive as in-person ones. In this case, choosing outdoor spaces is recommended, such as terraces or open areas, as well as rooms with air purification systems, as long as it is strictly necessary, and always with aerosols that do not generate a risk of contagion.

Avoid sharing objects

Viruses can survive for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. For this reason, it is important not to share objects. If you do, priority must be given to sanitary measures. In this way, we can avoid mass infections without resorting to extreme measures such as quarantine. 

Avoid small spaces

Avoiding any space that does not have constant airflow, especially elevators, is recommended. Using the stairs to get to your office is a better option. This applies to common areas both inside and outside the usually small offices, such as dining rooms, break rooms, etc. 

Tips for having a social distanced office

If you are considering a return to office use or your team is starting to do so, you should make sure to adapt your business infrastructure to social distancing. Here we advise you on how to achieve this goal:

Task grouping

If multiple roles perform similar tasks that need to be carried out on-site, consider grouping and rotating those tasks so that some members of your team can work remotely, while one person assumes responsibility on-site. Combine this strategy with a flexible schedule to further increase social distancing and reduce the risk of a professional becoming ill.

Create a disinfection protocol

Incorporate clean points in strategic areas of your office (entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, meeting rooms, etc.), equipped with antibacterial gel, gloves, masks, etc. Encourage the whole team to use these areas. 

Encourage the disuse of public transport

When company headquarters are far from where employees live, they are forced to use public transport to go to the office. On the metro and buses, it is more challenging to comply with social distancing measures. Therefore, incorporating flexible offices to avoid the risk of contagion while travelling to the office is highly recommended. 

Preventive measures at our locations

At all Cloudworks locations, we have adapted spaces and implemented high-standard preventive measures to guarantee all our members’ well-being.

We manage and supervise the implementation of this protocol in a comprehensive way. We consider every detail: from disinfection to the proper use of the spaces, capacity and supplies necessary for you to work safely and comfortably.