This article includes:
- How to use the 6-foot social distance guideline in your workplace
- Using floor markers to help customers and staff social distance during appointments
- How blocking off work stations and equipment can help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Why creating a traffic flow is important after you reopen
In a post-coronavirus workplace, things are going to look very different! Now it’s time to take the next step towards reopening—creating a new layout to make sure your business space is set up for safe social distancing and has a controlled traffic pattern. Changing up the floor plan of your business may sound overwhelming, but it’s easier than you might think—here’s how to get started!
6 Ft, Please!
According to CDC social distancing guidelines, 6 feet is the recommended minimum distance to maintain in social situations. This distance helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by preventing moisture droplets from another person’s eyes, nose, or mouth to transfer to another person. Much of your new business floor plan will depend on the type of business you’re in, and the square footage you have available to work with. The easiest way to start is to measure and mark a 6-foot distance from all the main activity hubs in your business. These are your guidelines to mark the floor, block off equipment or stations, and create a traffic flow minimizing close contact between staff members and their clients.
Use Floor Markers
Floor markers show staff and clients what safe distancing looks like in your space and help relieve customer and staff anxiety about returning to your business. They’re also a visual reminder to not to get too close unless a service is being performed, which helps everyone get acclimated to the new normal. Floor markers are particularly important to have at high-traffic areas of your business, such as hand-sanitizing locations, checkout, shampoo and wax stations, and most importantly, the traffic pattern you create for your shop. It’s also important to mark the floors of each work area where there are no barriers or dividers, so your employees can maintain a safe social distance from their co-workers and their clients.
Block Off Equipment and Workstations
To safely maintain a 6-foot distance in the workplace, you may need to space out workstations and equipment. However, fixtures that can’t be moved may need to be blocked off to prevent the temptation to use them, sit in them, or otherwise compromise the safe social distance. You can block off stations and equipment with caution tape, plastic wrap, or plastic or vinyl drapes that can easily be sanitized and disinfected.
In fitness centers, there are numerous pieces of heavy equipment, often situated very close to each other—think rows of treadmills, stair steppers, and exercycles. To keep patrons safe and your business compliant, use the “every other piece” strategy to maintain safe distances between members. Don’t assume that every other piece of equipment provides safe social distancing. Measure distances to make sure you have at least 6 feet or more of clearance, specifically because in fitness settings, patrons will be breathing harder.
Create a Traffic Flow
Creating mapped and marked out traffic paths through your business is perhaps most important part of your new business layout. To minimize close contact, it’s vital for your business to have as many one-way footpaths that keep the flow of customers moving in an orderly way throughout their visit. The easiest way for you to do this is to perform a few dry runs before reopening to determine what the most common traffic patterns are in your business and orient your available space to accommodate one-way traffic paths where possible.
In most businesses, there are places that are bound to cross paths—like shampoo bowls, sanitizing stations, or fitness equipment. When crossing paths is unavoidable, map a “traffic roundabout” pattern on the floor. This will show customers how to walk counterclockwise to oncoming foot traffic and prevent getting too close.
Bright Idea: When creating your floor markings and floor traffic patterns, use temporary paint. That way, you can adapt your layout to fit your customers, if you find that you need to adjust after you’ve reopened.
Be Adaptable to Change
It’s important to remember that it’s easy to switch things up if you find they’re not working. This is especially true for your business traffic flow—how you think customers and staff will move through the space may differ from how they actually move through your business. You may also discover that new fixtures, like air purifiers, LED or high-heat sanitizers, or hand washing stations may require a little tweaking before you find the spot that’s just right. Make sure that you’re ready to make changes quickly if you find that your new layout isn’t quite right. Your staff and customers will be appreciative of your efforts to ensure that their visit to your business is safe for everyone!
While we can’t come over to help you move around furniture, we can help with the heavy lifting of your scheduling and administrative tasks. We’ve even got a COVID-19 waiver ready for you to welcome back customers!