How to do business while social distancing

The UK is three weeks into its social distancing lock down, which means not only are most of us having to work from home – that’s if we’ve not already been furloughed by our employer – but we’re having to keep our distance from people who aren’t members of our own household.

If you are still working, how are you meant to carry on working with such restrictions in place?

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a way of trying to stop the spread of infectious diseases by making sure as few people as possible come into physical contact with one another. The idea is that the disease can’t spread through physical contact between people and the chances of it being spread from contact with surfaces can also be limited.

In the UK, social distancing means that people can’t be within two metres of anyone who doesn’t live in the same household  as them. This means that workplaces across the country have been closed, social gatherings banned, and limits on how many people can be in shops and supermarkets at any one time.

How to do business while social distancing

If your business is still operating, there’s a good chance all employees are now have to work from home, with meetings held virtually. In this instance, the trick to carrying on with business is to make sure every employee has the tools to do their job as effectively from home as they can from the office.

This means making sure all staff are set up with the necessary hardware and software, including laptops, headsets and extra monitors, as well as all the software they need to do their job. They should also be able to access the corporate network from home, which could mean you’ll also need to get a reliable VPN and ensure all online security is up to date and can be regularly updated remotely.

As this could be a completely new way of working for many, it will also help to make productivity and work scheduling tools available, so employees can make the best use of their time when working from home. For some ideas, check out our blog 7 tools to make working from home easier.

If you have field agents or employees who usually visit the property of clients or customers, you could be able to temporarily re-purpose them as call centre staff, to help with a possible increase in customer service or technical support calls.

You might also need to check in for progress updates more regularly than usual, but be careful to not come across like you’re over-managing or micro-managing people. One effective way to do this is to hold team meetings at the beginning and end of each day, so no-one feels their being singled out.

But how can you hold meetings if people are social distancing?

How to hole meetings while social distancing

There are loads of ways to keep in touch remotely, with some more effective than others, especially in the current climate.

While video conferencing is often popular, most people are having to rely on their home broadband more often than usual, and most likely with a number of people connected to the same household router at once. This can quickly overload the internet bandwidth and cause lagging and buffering on video calls, making them almost unworkable.

A conference call, on the other hand, just needs a landline or mobile connection and you can host a call with up to 100 participants. No need to worry about too many people being on the line at once, no concerns about the line dropping and calls can be set up and scheduled within a matter of minutes.

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