Social distancing at work

The following guidelines have been released to cover social distancing concerns if working in offices or call centres. The objective being to maintain 2m social distancing whenever possible.

The published guidelines are:

You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.

 

Mitigating actions include:

  • further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.

 

Coming to work and leaving work

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to ensure handwashing upon arrival.

Moving around buildings and worksites

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible while people travel through the workplace.

Workplaces and workstations

Objective: To maintain social distancing between individuals when they are at their workstations.

For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Workstations should be assigned to an individual and not shared. If they need to be shared they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.

If it is not possible to keep workstations 2m apart then businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

Meetings

Objective: To reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing in meetings.

Common areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing while using common areas.

Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents. In an emergency, for example, an accident or fire, people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

Full details are available on the gov.uk website

The suggested actions that need to be taken to comply with the above objectives are listed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres

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