How to Practice Social Distancing While Coworking

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) impacts the health and safety of everyone. The virus spreads among people who are close to each other for extended periods of time. This includes workers. Healthy practices are important for all workers, including those in coworking arrangements.

Coworking memberships appeal to telecommuters, independent contractors, travelers and work-at-home professionals. By using shared office space, they can reduce costs and distractions while avoiding isolation. Yet, there are risks to coworking during a pandemic.

COVID-19 is contagious. Spread happens when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets from their nose or mouth launch into the air and land on people nearby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spread may occur even with no symptoms. For this reason, it is important to practice healthy habits – on the job and outside of work. Here are six healthy coworking practices to help you stay safe.

1. Practice Social Distancing

In a shared work area, there is more reason now than ever before to observe social distancing. Close contact encourages the spread of disease.

The CDC defines close contact as six feet or less between people. So, rearrange your work area seating to uphold the recommended six-foot separation. And if you have a private office, put in place a temporary closed-door policy.

2. Avoid Physical Contact

Besides social distancing, it is important to avoid physical contact during the pandemic. Since distancing is the best way to stop the spread, avoid person-to-person contact.

Replace your usual hugs, handshakes and high-fives with no-touch greetings. Waves, elbow bumps and air high-fives reduce the risk of spreading the virus to coworkers.

3. Sanitize Your Workspace

Keep yourself and others safe by sanitizing your workspace. Set a timer on your phone at intervals throughout the day to break for disinfection.

Disinfect your desk, keyboard and mouse as well as shared items such as pens, door knobs and handsets. The CDC recommends using alcohol wipes or sprays with at least 70 percent alcohol.

The government also recommends washing your hands often. Wash them for at least 20 seconds at a time, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Plain soap and water remove more germs than hand sanitizers. But if you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

4. Order Takeout Meals

Restaurants are feeling the crunch of COVID lockdowns. A drop in customers, as well as dining-in bans, are hitting their revenues hard. As someone who coworks, you can help them.

Take your meal breaks and support the local restaurants, but stay safe as you do so. Reduce the risk to yourself and your coworkers by ordering food for takeout or delivery.

5. Work Night Hours

Some coworking memberships offer 24/7 keycard access. If you want to avoid large groups of people during peak business hours, working at night is an option.

Late night work offers perks like faster commute times and fewer disruptions. Since most workers keep a daytime schedule, you also have less contact with people and germs.

6. Stay Home When Sick

As the World Health Organization (WHO) counsels – and common sense dictates – stay home when you are sick. Do not try to “tough it out” and go to work, especially if you have a cough, fever or breathing problems.

Seek medical advice and self-isolate until you are healthy again. This will protect you and your fellow coworkers.

Conclusion

Although the risk for illness is different for everyone, anyone can get COVID and spread it to others. In coworking, as with any situation, everyone has a role in slowing the spread. These tips will help you focus on health and safety – yours and others’ – as you go about your daily work.

Alex Hamilton