Updated: Feb 10, 2021
How do we keep connected while staying safe
It’s no secret that people do business with people. In order for that to happen, relationships must be built and maintained and this is done with real life connection by way of meetings, engagements, collaboration and socialising.
In this new world, post lock-down as we ready our offices for productivity under strict social distancing regulations, how do we maintain that vital thread of human connection?
The new normal is a world where faces are covered with masks, hiding facial expressions and creating barriers to connection. Social distancing requires us to keep a safe distance and avoid any physical contact. More barriers to connection.
The days of shaking hands, and friendly social banter seem to be over, for now. How do we read one another’s facial expressions? How do we show physical acknowledgment without a handshake? These are real challenges that we face as we try to make our world feel normal again.
With barriers in place such as space and distance as well as physical safety barriers, the best thing we can do to encourage connection and communication is create safe spaces for engagement with clients and colleagues.
Safe spaces should include enough space to keep your distance as well as physical barriers to prevent contact.
By using transparency, that is lots of glass or alternative transparent products, we can create space that give us the comfort of seeing each other and limit the feeling of isolation.
Include some of these elements to encourage communication and create a sense of well being:
Glass partitions to create transparency and a feeling of conectedness.
Greenery to connect us with the outside world.
Maximize natural light; this lifts the spirits and brightens the environment, creating a feeling of freshness.
Safe meeting areas with clear space demarcations
safe work areas with sneeze screens.
Ample circulation space for easy movement.
Easy access to sanitisers and hand wash stations.
Fresh, clean air.
As the new world evolves we will, no doubt, discoverer new ways of doing things. For now, as we approach the end of lock-down in South Africa, we can only prepare for what we think we will need.
We can guess and plan as much as we like, however we are certain to discover the new normal as it unfolds. However, one thing remains certain, people need people.
We are social beings, we need to connect, we need to share and we need to collaborate in order to get things done. The more helpful your office environment is in this regard, the easier the adjustment to our new way of working will be.