Health and safety

Don’t Stand So Close to Me: Social Distancing in the Workplace

May 01, 2020

With some provinces loosening restrictions and beginning the return to normal work, it’s important that social distancing and other preventive measures are not forgotten.

Most people are familiar with the basics of good hand hygiene—soap and water, thorough scrubbing, avoid sneezing into your hands or touching shared surfaces, and so on—but the concept of social distancing is new to many. While most of us have caught on to it in grocery stores and other essential trips, new challenges may begin to arise when employees return to work.

The purpose of social distancing and other techniques is not to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)—preventing it entirely is basically impossible. The point is to slow the spread so that the number of serious cases of COVID-19 don’t overwhelm the healthcare system. We are now at a point where the spread is slowing in many areas, but we need to do our part to keep it from resurging.

Public health officials have provided guidelines for effective social distancing—try to keep about two metres apart from other people, and limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people in one place. In some jurisdictions, large gatherings were banned entirely. This is starting to loosen in some areas, but we may see large gatherings still banned for a while.

Here’s some of the ways to help visualize or explain
to employees how far apart two metres is:



In the workplace, social distancing may be difficult; employees often work side by side, or closely with the public, but this doesn’t make it impossible. Download our Guide to Social Distancing After Returning to Work for some tips as you consider what returning to work will look like in your organization.



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