While COVID-19 has impacted all of us on some level, some companies cannot work remotely and have no option but to get back to work in an office. The “new normal” of social distancing, masks and sanitization practices are only effective against the spread of the virus if you know how to best mitigate contact.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Arizona Governor’s Office guidelines say that social distancing is still the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus. So how can you social distance in your office? Below are a few tips for safely returning to the office. And if you need additional assistance, M3 Commercial Moving & Logistics offers free return-to-work consultations for office spaces needing more help navigating the new normal.

Worker Safety

Many people have been using masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, but not everyone knows how to properly use PPE to reduce the spread. Training employees on how to properly wear masks and when to discard gloves is essential.  Proper PPE usage combined with proper social distancing strategies is a one-two punch to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Keeping a minimum of 6 feet between workers at all times is important, including in any common use areas like water coolers, kitchens and bathrooms. Before reopening the office, make sure these spaces are given a thorough cleaning and teach employees how to sanitize their workspace and high-touch areas like doorknobs and light switches daily. Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly, and when hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer. You can encourage clean hands by installing hand sanitizer stations throughout your office.

M3 Commercial Moving & Logistics is considered and essential business and has been open throughout the pandemic.  One of the many ways we are working to ensure the safety of our team is by implementing a temperature screening process and through the completion of health verification forms.  Using a forehead thermometer and vetting their health for all employees and visitors provides extra assurance that those who walk through your doors are not showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Office Layout

Social distancing strategies are paramount when considering your office layout. For traditional “open” cubicle-style offices, keeping one workspace of distance between employees can help stop the spread of the virus.  If you have many employees in your office, you may want to consider routing employees on how to navigate the space in a socially distanced manner. The use of floor stickers or placards can visually demonstrate how employees should move within a space and remind them to keep a minimum of 6 feet apart.

Employee Engagement

Before returning to the office, it is important to gauge your employees’ feelings of safety. The feelings of your employees will shape how the business operates in office. We recommend sending out an anonymous survey before returning to work. Listen to employee concerns, strategize with leadership and use professionals to consult on what the best strategies for the mental and physical health of your employees moving forward.  I would also consult your property manager for best practice ideas and information on what they are doing to mitigate risk in other parts of the building.


Jim Stevens is the Vice President at Phoenix-based M3 Commercial Moving & Logistics, a division of Muscular Moving Men & Storage. For more information and to schedule a no-cost office layout consultation, visit www.m3commercial.com.