As vaccination programmes in most countries pick up the pace, companies worldwide are planning on a phased return to the office. Although it may seem like everything is going back to normal, there are so many habits that we will need to learn and unlearn. High-fiving your colleagues and working in close proximity is now a thing of the past. Anyone returning to the office has to be mindful of social distancing and limiting contact to keep themselves and their co-workers safe. If you are planning on returning to work soon, here are 4 Post-Pandemic Office Etiquette tips that you will need to know:
#1 Greeting Colleagues
People have been using handshakes for years to establish trust and respect. But in the present times, it might be a good idea to shake off this particular practice. According to studies, we touch our face around 23 times per hour, making handshakes a quick way to spread the virus. A friend or a colleague you haven’t seen in a long time reaches out to shake hands. What do you do?
You can acknowledge them with a smile, a slight nod and good eye contact. You can also wave at them or perform a Thai “Wai” or “Namaste” with your hands folded. Experts also suggest staying away from the “elbow bump” as people might sneeze in the crook of their elbow.
Accidentally shook hands? Don’t worry. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands for 20 seconds as soon as possible.
#2 Basic safety guidelines
One of the most courteous and responsible things you can do to protect yourself and others is to follow safety protocols. Follow the signage that is put up in your office and elevators, wear your masks and wash your hands frequently. Try to maintain at least a 2-metre distance from your colleagues and stay cautious while you use restrooms.
Evaluate yourself for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to work, and stay home if you are not well.
#3 Meeting Etiquette
If your workplace has adopted the hybrid working approach, you will have a few employees working from the office and others who work remotely. Start by communicating who will be attending in person and who will be attending remotely to have the best possible collaboration experience. Make proper introductions, set up the audio and video tech and regularly stop to ask remote employees if they have any input or questions. Lastly, end each meeting with clearly stated and visible next steps.
Another essential tip is to factor in time zones and international holidays while setting project timelines and deadlines.
#4 Breakroom Etiquette
Be mindful of maintaining social distancing in common areas like breakrooms, kitchenettes and canteens. For example, if you want to get a cup of coffee, make sure you sanitise the machine’s controls with a sanitising wipe before and after each use. Since eating requires you to take your masks off, don’t sit directly in front of others at lunch. Lastly, don’t forget to clean up after yourself and dispose of waste in the correct waste disposal bins.
As an employer, you can provide your team with a customised welcome pack or a hygiene pack with all essentials like a mug, sanitiser, stationery etc., to eliminate the need for sharing.
If your business is looking to adopt signage, get in touch with our print team here.
If you are looking to re-design your office space to accommodate social distancing measures, book an appointment with our Furniture and Interiors Specialists here.