Keeping your distance
We're all well aware of the 2-metre rule, and while it's no longer enforced in a lot of public places, it's important to be aware of people's personal space in the office. Before COVID-19, you might have found yourself in a busy conference room sitting next to Jenny from accounting and Carol from HR, this seemed totally normal - but the chances of catching a potentially life-threatening disease from Carol of Jenny seemed a lot smaller back then...
If you're required to join a meeting now, we'd recommend sitting with people from your own department (because you're mingling with them already) and keeping your distance at all times. This includes moving your chair away, avoiding touching or passing things to others or asking to join the meeting virtually to limit the number of people who are sitting in the same room. Your employee will thank you for your initiative at this sensitive time when people are still adjusting to mingling in the workplace again.
The same principles should apply throughout the workplace. Be wary of how close you get to people when you're walking around the office, raising a query, popping to the toilets or making a cuppa in the kitchen. The closer you get to your colleagues, the higher the chance that you'll catch or spread COVID-19.
Personal hygiene has always been a huge part of office etiquette, but even more so now that COVID-19 is on the scene. It's important that you sanitise or wash your hands regularly. Your employer will more than likely supply hand sanitiser around the office, but it's your responsibility to make sure you're using it before standing up from your desk. Whether you notice yourself doing it or not, it's likely that you touch your hands and face multiple times throughout the day. Keeping your hands clean reduces the risk of infection for you and others around you.
Wear a mask
If you work in a particularly busy office, we'd recommend wearing masks in communal spaces (even if it's not compulsory). Wearing a mask not only protects you and reduces your chance of catching the virus, but also prevents you from spreading it to your co-workers. At this time of year, coughs and sneezes are inevitable. Without regular COVID testing, you might not know whether you have coronavirus or not. Wearing a mask when you're away from your desk is a great idea and will hopefully reduce the transmission of other winter viruses like cold and flu too!
Ventilate your workspace
It's likely that all the desks in the office will be spaced out more than usual, this is great, but it's not the only thing that can be done to reduce the risk of coronavirus. If you're someone who sits next to or near a window, why not open it a little during the day? Of course, with the weather getting colder, you'll need to be mindful that you don't make the office an uncomfortable temperature, but increasing the ventilation around your workspace is likely to be beneficial for everyone.
If you're planning on sitting with the window open while you're at work, be sure to take an extra jumper, scarf, gloves (or even a hot water bottle) to keep you cosy at your desk. Being a little bit chilly is a small price to pay if you're helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.