With more office employees returning to work, employers are finding it difficult to ensure that everyone stays two meters from each other. Follow these five tips to make social distancing easy.

Create divisions between employees

We’re not talking about plastic partitions or other physical dividers. No, you need to create social divisions. There are many ways to achieve this, from “accidentally” leaving an Excel sheet of everyone’s salary in the copy room to giving the worst performers perks like parking spaces and new iPhones. The resentment and jealousy will be so strong that no one will want to get close to each other.

Stagger lunch breaks

One of the biggest threats to maintaining social distancing is lunchtime, when employees will be tempted to gather in groups, take off their masks, and eat together. A good way to avoid this is to stagger lunch breaks so that no one goes to lunch at the same time. If you work in a large office, this means you’ll need to start the first lunch break at around 8:30 a.m.

Create a new shift system

You can drastically reduce the number of people in the office if you break the usual workday into three rotating shifts that run 24 hours a day. If such a schedule is good enough for factory workers and emergency personnel, it’s good enough for office workers, who – let’s face it – have it too easy. Maybe having them pull four 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shifts in a row will get them to finally stop complaining about the coffee and air conditioning.

Utilize ceiling space

Even before the pandemic, many offices suffered from a lack of sufficient floor space, and management resorted to practices like hot desking. But while floor space is in short supply, most offices have hundreds of square meters of unused ceiling space to which you can attach desks so that employees can maintain those vital two meters of distance while working upside down. Not only will they be more efficient thanks to increased blood flow to their brains, they’ll feel like they’re stuck on a fun, malfunctioning amusement park ride all day long.

Think inside the box

So you’ve got dozens of employees strapped to the ceiling and working upside down but you still don’t have enough space to maintain social distancing? Most companies have restrooms with three or four toilets, of which only one is in use at any given time. Why not turn the unused toilet stalls into work spaces, private offices for those who need privacy to concentrate? Bonus: they’ll be able to relieve themselves at their new desks.

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Photo credit:iStock / J.P. Gomez