How to Promote Social Distancing at Your Company
The easiest way to slow the spread of a worldwide pandemic is to encourage social distancing. It's even more effective than other popular measures, such as wearing masks or disinfecting surfaces. Protecting your employees is the right thing to do, and can prevent your business from a future closure. It can also provide a safer environment for your customers. You'll ensure they feel safe dining, shopping or visiting your location in person.
While reopening a physical location after a pandemic-related closing, you'll need to take steps to promote social distancing with customers and employees. Those can include taping down floor markings near checkouts and in aisles, closing every other urinal with toilet covers and limiting seating with chair coverings.
Here are some of the most effective ways to promote social distancing in your workplace.
Mark Your Floors in 6-Foot Increments
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend individuals stay 6 feet apart to maintain an appropriate distance. Even as the country has accepted cloth masks as the latest fashion trend, they can't replace social distancing. So, while face coverings are ideal, staying away from others is still the best practice.
Many people can recite the social distancing rules by heart. While many call it the new normal, social distancing doesn't always come easily. Though we all enjoy a little personal space from time to time, our bubbles are usually a lot smaller. Without reminders, people often default to their regular standing distance. People naturally stand anywhere from 1.5 to 4 feet away from acquaintances. That radius extends from 4 to 12 feet in professional or casual interactions. The best way to encourage appropriate physical distancing is with floor markers.
A good rule of thumb is to put floor markers anywhere a crowd or line might form. In the workplace, this includes:
- Time punch stations.
- Checkout counters.
- Waiting areas, customer service kiosks and other lines.
- Common areas such as break rooms or cafeterias.
- Outside bathrooms, especially if you are limiting capacity.
- High-traffic walkways and store aisles.
Among the many ways to mark your floors, our favorite way is with temporary blue painter's tape. It's an affordable alternative to permanent floor decals. Plus, it's removable, guaranteed to leave zero residues for up to 21 days.
Temporary tape is useful for social distancing because you never know exactly how people will behave. If you find people are still getting too close even after you put down tape, you can rearrange your tape marks until you have a practical social distancing layout. Create walking lanes using long strips, mark X's where people should stand or draw arrows for one-way walkways. It's exceptionally versatile. If your facility has carpeting, you might consider a high-tack masking tape instead. It's great for rough surfaces and even outdoor use.Shop Blue Painter's Tape Shop High Tack Green Painter's Tape
Rope Off Pathways for One-Way Traffic Flows
In many ways, people have gotten used to waiting in lines 6 feet apart. In aisles and hallways, things are a different story. How do you maintain 6 feet from someone passing by in the opposite direction? When making these split-second decisions, people often underestimate the distance. In many businesses, walking lanes aren't wide enough to allow people to stand 6 feet apart while traveling in both directions. For many of the country's major retailers and other businesses, the solution is one-way traffic.
Encouraging one-way traffic and social distancing measures is challenging without the right layout. For many customers who have been going to the same shops and businesses for years, navigation is like muscle memory. People are accustomed to two-way traffic. They're used to scooting by someone to grab something they need. While floor markings and arrows can help, they don't physically bar people from going where they aren't supposed to.
When autopilot would otherwise kick in, it's helpful to use stanchion belts or ropes to direct traffic where you want it to go. This measure can be useful for instituting storewide one-way traffic. It can also show people where to stand in an unfamiliar queue setup. Ropes or belts can prevent them from forming independent lines. Remember to use floor markers to remind people of the 6-feet-apart rule.
Use Plexiglas Barriers Between Employees and Customers
Cash registers, customer service kiosks and ticket windows present a unique challenge. Customers need to interact face-to-face with your employees. With any exchange of money, customers need to get within arm's length. In these situations, staying 6 feet apart is prohibitive.
The good news is, social distancing measures aren't always necessary. According to the CDC, 6-foot distancing is an alternative to the preferable method of using physical barriers. Plexiglas partitions, also called sneeze guards, are an engineering control. In other words, they change the workplace itself. These physical cues are more reliable than reminding and encouraging people to change their behavior. While using Plexiglas barriers to separate shoppers in line isn't possible, it's a great way to protect employees standing still. Customers can speak to employees directly without the worry of disease transmission.
Besides using barriers, it's smart to encourage patrons to use contactless payment options. These transactions further limit interaction and the spread of germs through physical touch.
Close Every Other Urinal or Toilet
Whether earned or unearned, public restrooms have a reputation for being unsanitary. Even though most public bathrooms get daily cleanings — and these days, even more — they still spark an instinctive fear of germs. Promoting social distancing in your company's restrooms is as much about safety as it is about providing the reassurance of cleanliness.
For many offices and small businesses, the solution is to allow one employee at a time. This strategy gets unwieldy for large facilities. Many customer-facing restrooms or those in large buildings can accommodate many visitors at once. It might be the only bathroom on the floor or in the whole building. A one-in-one-out policy might not work. When allowing more people to use the facilities at once, businesses must enforce social distancing. Block off some of the urinals without partitions, sinks and even bathroom stalls that are too close together.
You've probably seen bathrooms marking their toilets with anything from garbage bags to handwritten out-of-order signs. When you need to maintain a professional, sanitary appearance, go with a self-adhesive protective film for urinals and toilets. They allow you to cover every other urinal and sink quickly. Your employees and customers can safely use the restroom and stay six feet apart.
Limit Seating With Chair Coverings
Social distancing guidelines and statewide closures have been an enormous strain on small businesses across the board. They have been particularly hard on companies that rely on large gatherings. The CDC reminds businesses to avoid large groups and offers specific recommendations for events and congregations. Between customers feeling unsafe and state restrictions, venues that cater to crowds have suffered.
Now, as people cautiously venture out of their homes, and restrictions get lifted, these places can now operate with limited capacity. However, their seating arrangements, often permanent, serve tightly packed visitors. One way to encourage social distancing in these layouts is with seat covers. TapeManBlue offers a perfect solution through temporary seat cover films for event spaces. These films are a breeze to attach and easy to remove when needed. Stretch the roll over the length of seats to block them off. They're perfect for:
- Movie theaters
- Event venues
- Hotels and resorts
- Places of worship
- Lecture halls and auditoriums
- Waiting rooms
Shop the Social Distancing Products You Need
TapeManBlue is here for you. During the pandemic, our priority is helping businesses like yours find effective and safe ways to reopen. We have many creative ways to help you promote social distancing, including floor tape markers, urinal films and seat covers. We also offer an excellent surface sanitation solution — a keypad protection film to make it easier to disinfect sensitive, high-touch electronic surfaces like ATMs or checkout kiosks. Find the products you need to maintain safe social distancing and proper sanitation at your business from TapeManBlue.