Social Distancing in the Office: New Communication Norms

It’s great to look forward to things returning to normal at work, but communication won’t exactly be the same. Everyone will need to be more aware of their proximity to others. Each workplace will have different rules and regulations, so it is important to be courteous of others as you move about the building and interact with co-workers and clients in person. Here are some tips to help you transition back to the office workplace.

Face Mask

Requirements for wearing face masks in the office may vary, but it’s likely that there will be some sort of policy at your workplace. Regardless of your specific situation, wearing a face mask is a considerate way to demonstrate to others that you care about their safety.
The insurance industry and many other fields tend to encourage a lot of social interaction. It’s important to be friendly, but that can be difficult to convey when half of your face is hidden by a mask. This is where it will take extra effort to emphasize a friendly tone of voice and positive non-verbal cues. Practice talking in the mirror with a mask on so you can observe how you may be perceived by others.

Physical Contact

Often there are physical encounters in the office such as a handshake or an occasional pat on the shoulder. When returning to the office under current conditions, it’s important not to fall into old habits since not everyone may feel safe with any level of physical contact. Remember to keep your distance when in common areas and while visiting people at their desk or cubicle.

Lunch Room/Cafeteria

A favorite time to socialize is during the lunch break. However, it is important to remember to not sit closely to others and wipe down surfaces and appliances before using them. The best option to avoid spreading or catching germs is to pack your own lunch from home. Another option is to eat at your desk or somewhere away from others. Although that can feel isolating or lonely, you could do a phone call or video chat with other co-workers during your breaks to socialize safely from a distance.

Hand Sanitizer

A new common social norm is having publically available hand sanitizer. This is great to have available in multiple areas of the office and at your desk. It is considered polite to offer the sanitizer to clients coming and leaving from the office. Pro tip: a fun way to spread your brand awareness could be to gift clients with personal-sized hand sanitizer labeled with your company logo and info!

Times are changing and things may not return in exactly the same way. But that’s okay. Take these tips to heart when you return to the office. Let us know in the comments in you have any tips you’d like to share.

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