The one (and only) thing that everyone is talking about now is social distancing. Governments are enforcing social distancing measures, celebrities are encouraging it, and #StayHome is trending on Instagram and Twitter.
But what is social distancing?
Social distancing or physical distancing is an infection control measure that requires you to keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre from others. Physical contact and small liquid droplets that may carry a virus from others might infect you, so keeping a distance minimises those risks. This will help slow down the speed of community transmission and flatten the curve, which means that everyone in need can receive dedicated care in healthcare facilities.
How can you contribute to social distancing at work and at home?
social distancing in the office
Over the years, many companies have opted for open offices or hot desking to encourage workplace interaction and improve inter-team communication. Hot desking allows employees to change their seats everyday, preventing creativity burn and increasing collaboration.
But with the risk of COVID-19, it is not recommended right now. Every employee should be assigned to one desk during this period of time so that when the need arises, employers can keep track of who they were in close contact with.
If the office desks are small, make sure you leave an empty seat on both your sides to ensure a safe distance from one another.
We also understand that lunch is probably the only time you can relax and catch up with your colleague, but it is more important to flatten the curve now.
Order your food through on-demand delivery services or choose to take-away to minimise your time spent in public areas. When eating in the pantry, choose to have your lunch in smaller groups and space yourselves out by leaving an empty seat between you and the next person.
If you prefer to have your meal outside the office, choose to go for lunch during off-peak timings like before 11.30am or after 1.30pm. There are typically shorter queues and fewer people during such off-peak timings, which allow you to responsibly practise social distancing in crowded places like food courts and restaurants.
You should also be replacing all face-to-face meetings with digital modes of communication such as video conferences or a phone call to minimise close physical interactions. Just be sure that the video conferencing software is pre-installed on your devices and that your speakers, video camera and microphone are working well. If teleconferencing is not an option for you, have the meeting in an outdoor space where it is well-ventilated.
social distancing at home
Choose to work in your own room instead of common spaces such as the living or dining room. Not only are you practising social distancing, you are also less likely to be distracted by non-urgent requests from your family members or housemates.
But if you have a dog or cat, keep them close! Pet therapy can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improve positivity through socialisation.
If you don’t have a workstation, perhaps it’s time to invest in one. Companies like HipVan and IKEA have e-commerce sites where you can shop and get an office set-up delivered to your door. Since you can’t physically see and test the products, these companies also offer free exchanges or refunds within a limited time so you don’t have to be stuck with something that doesn’t work for you.
As you will be using your work desk and chair for at least seven hours a day, ensure that they are ergonomically comfortable for you.
You should also practise social distancing with friends. Avoid inviting any friends or extended family members over to your house to help prevent any risks of an outbreak. If you live with elderly parents or young children, try to minimise your contact with them as their immune systems are weaker than a healthy adult.
stay home and you can save the world
COVID-19 will change the way we live our lives, and without the help from everyone, it will be with us for a long time.
Social distancing doesn’t just apply to situations like COVID-19. It is also for when there is a seasonal flu bug making its way through the office. Social distancing is an important yet easy thing that we can all do.
Do your part to flatten the curve and follow the social distancing rules. Protect yourself and everyone you love from COVID-19 and other transmissible diseases.