With people slowly going back to work and businesses reopening, it’s time to talk about the protocols that should be in place to practice proper social distancing. The reception area of an office is where people are greeted and usually where they exit. This area accumulates a lot of traffic throughout the day so it’s essential to know how to keep it social distancing safe. Use these tips for designing your reception area for safely getting back to business. 

Social Distancing at the office

Sanitization

You will want to keep all surfaces at the reception area cleaned and sanitized to ensure safety for your employees and customers. Keep hand sanitizer at the front along with masks and disinfectant wipes for easy, no-contact cleaning. You may also want to include some no-touch waste bins and hand sanitizer stands so you don’t have to come into contact with a pump. The area should be sanitized after every interaction in the area with a new person, and every person should be offered a mask or encouraged to wear one. 

Traffic Flow

The reception area can become a congested area, especially if it’s busy. Put a sign on the door to let people know only a certain amount of people are allowed into the area at once. Use tape on the ground to mark X’s 6 feet apart, where people can stand. Make it obvious with signs so people don’t get confused and the new social distancing rules can be followed properly. Some other things you could do to reduce the traffic flow in the reception area is to communicate with your clients and customers beforehand, to let them know to call before they come in. An employee can come to greet them at the door when the reception area is cleared out and ready for the next group. 

Physical Barriers

Use clear barriers to physically block contact between employees and customers/clients. Clear barriers will add another layer of protection to everyone, without altering the customer experience. You are still able to see, hear, and communicate through clear barriers, just at a safer distance. If you need to exchange payments, papers, etc., clear barriers often have a cut out to exchange items easily. Mobile barriers could also be an option to create a barrier between the people who are entering the building, waiting in line, or sitting in the reception area. 

Furniture

Ensuring you have furniture that is easily cleaned and maintained is important, especially if it is being used by many people. Make sure the furniture can be easily wiped down or sprayed with fabric cleaner so it is as clean and safe. It is important to keep everyone who comes into contact with furniture safe. Another thing you want to think about when choosing furniture for this area is single person seating rather than shared couches. Seats need to be divided so that no two people are forced to sit close to each other.

Signage

Make sure your company’s social distancing guidelines are available to anyone who enters the building. A lot of companies have different procedures, so the best way to make sure everyone is following protocol is to send out emails, post flyers on the walls, verbally explain it over the phone, or tell people in person. It’s important everyone knows the rules so their experience can flow smoothly. You want your customers to have a positive experience and you want everyone to stay safe, so communication is key.

Rearranging your reception area for social distancing is an important aspect of reopening. It’s the area that people first see when they walk into your business, so you want to make sure it is organized and designed appropriately. With this guide, you will be able to design your reception area as a step in getting back to business safely. 

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