The UK's lockdown rules were recently relaxed, and while the government's coronavirus guidance still states that you should "work from home if you can", a lot of people have already returned to their places of work.
Of course, many of those workplaces look rather different now. To limit the spread of COVID-19, it's important for all of us to continue practising social distancing - that means staying at least 2 metres away from anyone who doesn't share your home.
READ MORE: Social Distancing in the Office
This rule has many implications for the world of work, and frequent team meetings are likely to be one of the biggest casualties. The current guidelines for offices and contact centres state that businesses should aim to "reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings", as well as to "maintain social distancing in meetings".
If you're concerned that your company will struggle to achieve this, here's some advice from the team here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions...
1. Don't have a meeting at all if you can avoid it.
Before you invite anybody to your meeting, think: could you say what you need to say via email instead? Perhaps you could use your company's preferred instant messaging software to have the necessary conversations? And if only a face-to-face discussion will suffice, there's always video conferencing - why not set up a Zoom meeting instead of gathering several people together in one space?
2. Plan beforehand to keep the meeting short.
COVID-19 only needs a few seconds of contact to spread, but the longer you spend in the presence of other people, the bigger the window you're giving the virus. Before you meet, make a list of all the points you'll need to cover - that way, you can keep things on topic, zip through the meeting agenda, and minimise contact time.
3. Keep the number of participants at a minimum.
Once you've put together a rough plan for the meeting, it should be easy to identify who needs to be present. Try not to invite non-essential personnel 'just in case' - only include the people who need to be a part of the conversation, then fill everyone else in via email afterwards.
4. Hold the meeting outdoors if possible.
If your office has an outdoor area, you should hold meetings there instead of staying indoors. The risk of COVID-19 is significantly lower in outdoor environments, so try to meet outside if the weather's not too bad.
5. Avoid sharing items that may transmit the virus.
If a coronavirus-positive individual handles an object (e.g. a pen) then hands it to you, there's a risk that you may pick up the virus as a result. When you're organising your meeting, advise all participants to bring their own pens, notebooks, etc. And don't put food on the meeting table for people to share!
6. Help participants to practise good hygiene.
There are a number of things you can do to help limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission while your meeting is in progress. Place hand sanitiser in the meeting area to help participants keep their hands clean. Ensure that nearby toilets are well-stocked with soap and hot water. Consider putting up signs to remind everyone to cough into their elbow, refrain from touching their face, etc.
7. Use markings to assist 2m social distancing.
It's still very important to stay at least 2 metres from members of other households where possible. If you have a space that's regularly used for team meetings, it may be a good idea to place coloured tape or some other kind of marker on the floor to show everyone what a distance of 2m looks like.
If you've been invited to attend a remote meeting, we recommend watching this video from our Managing Director Ricky Martin - his video interview tips are equally applicable to virtual meetings.
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