PHYSICAL DISTANCING PLANS FOR ANY BUSINESS - OFFICE, STORE OR CAFE
WHAT IS PHYSICAL DISTANCING?
Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) is the new requirement that people ensure there is a minimum distance between themselves and others. The current advice from the Department of Health is that everyone should keep at least 1.5 metres from others (outside of their family unit) wherever possible. So this becomes an important consideration for any type of business.
In addition to this, for any given space, there must be 4 square metres of space per person. Current health advice, even from bodies such as Safe Work Australia, is that everyone, including people at workplaces, must implement physical distancing measures wherever possible.
Here is an example of what it means;
WHY IS PHYSICAL DISTANCING IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES?
As an employee or business owner you have to consider your employees and customers in relation to how they interact with your premises. So whether that is an office environment, café or retail store there are different implications and considerations.
The goal is to reduce the chances of micro-droplets from people infected with the virus from being spread from another person sneezing, coughing or exhaling. The health bodies have determined that by ensuring there is 4 square metres of space per person and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others where possible, you will reduce the likelihood of exposure to micro-droplets of others.
The Realserve team can help measure your available spaces accurately so that the right measures can put in place giving you a physical distancing plan. Further details are available from Safe Work Australia about Physical Distancing for Employers on their website
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER PHYSICAL DISTANCING CONSIDERATIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS?
Apart from space considerations for things like desks, tables, waiting areas or serving areas there are a number of other factors to consider in relation to practicing safe physical distancing. Some of these relate to amending current systems and processes which can be used together with one of our plans;
- Minimising the number of people within an area at any time
- Staggering start, finish and break times where appropriate
- Moving work tasks to different areas of the workplace or off-site if possible
- If possible, separating workers into dedicated teams and have them work the same shift or work in a particular area
- Providing dedicated teams their own meal areas or break facilities where possible,
- Ensuring each worker has their own equipment or tools.
EXAMPLES OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING PLANS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
Every business site will be different and present it’s own unique challenges to achieve the correct approach to physical distancing. The Realserve team has been creating floor plans, retail tenancy plans and even 3D virtual tours for all types of commercial, retail and industrial properties for a number of years; it is what we specialise in.
So we can make it easier for a business owner to implement a physical distancing plan by using our expertise in property measurement, below are a few examples of how it can be applied;
#1 – An example of applying physical distancing to an office area
To achieve the 4 square metre ‘rule’ you would: calculate the area of the room (e.g length of room in metres x width of room in metres = area of room in square metres), and divide the area of the room by 4. For our example, we have a room that is 10 square metres in size, we should only allow up to 2 people in the room, allowing each person to have 4 square metres of space.
#2 – An example of applying physical distancing to an open workstation area
You should consider and make adjustments to the layout of the workplace and your workflows to enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart to continue performing their duties.
For example, this could be achieved by;
- Spreading out furniture to increase distancing, or
- Considering floor and/or wall markings with signage to identify 1.5 metres distancing requirements.
You should also review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between workers where it is practical and safe to do so.
#3 – An example of applying physical distancing to a Café, Restaurant or Bar
For businesses that provide service to Customers as well as having a staff running the business there are a few more things to consider;
- You may need to redesign the layout of the store, customer ordering or waiting areas to enable workers and customers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. This can be achieved by;
- Setting up different areas for ordering and collection.
- Using separate doors for customer entry and exit, if practicable, to avoid contact between people. If this is not possible, use markings on the ground to direct the movement/flow of customers.
- Implementing customer queuing, including outside the store where appropriate, with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance.
- Encouraging customers to wait outside, if safe to do so, for takeaway collection, and use floor markings in waiting areas to identify 1.5 metres distance.
- Setting up different areas for ordering and collection.
- If you normally provide seating, remove seats or use signs and barriers to prevent the use of seated eating areas.
If changing the physical layout of the workplace, your layout must allow for workers to enter, exit or move about the workplace both under normal working conditions or in an emergency, without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.
In some states it will be a requirement to receive a COVID-Safe Plan Record of Completion.
WHAT CAN COMPLEMENT A PHYSICAL DISTANCING PLAN FOR BUSINESSES?
For businesses who are preparing their plans for the recovery phase of restrictions lifting it can be an opportune time to look at other areas to either save money, refocus the business or plan for the future. The Realserve team can complement your Physical Distancing Plan with these services;
- Leasing Survey – there may be discussions taking place with Agents or Landlords to adjust the rental terms. A Leasing Survey can accurately measure your space to avoid excess rental being paid by old incorrect measurements.
- Interactive 3D Floor Plans – these can be used if you are considering making changes to the floor plan you have in place to either add or remove workstations, re-configure your space for different uses etc.
- Matterport 3D Virtual Tour – there may be some people who wish to remain at home as much as possible until later this year. A 3D Virtual Tour can create a fully immersive online walkthrough of your premises that people can view on their computer or phone. Perfect for venues that want to showcase their property online 24/7.
- Existing Conditions Plan – you may be deciding to refurbish your premises while trade is quiet in preparation for trading to return to normal. Our Existing Conditions Plans can make this process easier to manage, more accurate & aid reducing the costs of planning or development through being able to share plans with designers, builders etc online.