The rules around day-to-day working are clearer. We’re being encouraged to work from home where possible. After 6 months of working from home most of us are now familiar with Zoom, Teams and Google Meet. “You’re on mute Mark!” (it’s always Mark) has become a staple of most online meetings, and we’re resigned to staying on these platforms for the foreseeable future. But for some of us, including coaches and trainers, face-to-face meetings simply have to resume in order for their businesses to survive.
So how do we approach face-to-face meetings in a Covid-safe way?
The onus is very much on venues to ensure that they are operating in a Covid-safe way but attendees do have 3 main obligations.
Know your numbers
The ‘rule of 6’ does not apply to work gatherings. You may have a meeting or run a workshop with more than 6 people, provided you all remain socially distanced. Bear in mind you will need to find a space big enough to accommodate the distancing guidelines and may have to adjust your numbers if you can’t find a bigger space.
Keep your distance
Social distancing rules still apply. So, where possible, you need to keep 2m from your colleagues, or at least 1m in a well-ventilated space, or while wearing a mask.
Try and ensure you are in a situation where you can all be seated. Having volunteered at a local community group market stall recently I can say that the concentration required to remain 2m from people when none of you are static is immense. It’s much easier to be safe when you’re still!
Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise
You know this one already. Wash those hands. Carry vats of anti-bac hand gel around with you and use it. Don’t be grubby.
What the venue should be doing
The Association of Event Organisers has set out the new All Secure Standard to provide venues with clear guidance on how to operate safely. This is aimed at venues for hire but is equally applicable to the general workplace. There are four cornerstones to the guidance.
Meeting rooms/spaces should be set up in advance to ensure that all visitors/colleagues may socially distance. If the space is well-ventilated then distancing can be less than 2m but it must remain at 2m in poorly ventilated areas.
Any catering provided should be served in boxed, individual portions or served directly to attendees to minimise mingling.
Rooms should be cleaned between meetings with increased focus on key touch points, e.g. door handles, light switches, chairs, sockets (where laptops may have been plugged in) etc.
Any shared equipment should be removed where possible. All attendees should bring their own laptops, water bottles etc to reduce shared touch points.
Meeting spaces should be well ventilated.
Hand sanitiser should be provided on entry/exit points to facilitate good hygiene.
Protect and detect
The meeting venue should have a robust contact tracing system in place. Colleagues and visitors must be encouraged to get in touch should they display Covid symptoms after the meeting. A record of contact details should be kept for 21 days after the meeting.
A venue may ask for face coverings to be worn if they feel it is necessary, e.g. they are unable to adequately ventilate the meeting space.
Whether you’re meeting in your workplace or in a hired venue you should receive clear communication on what measures they are taking to stay Covid-safe.
There should be clear signage in place so that colleagues and visitors understand exactly what is required of them.
It sounds like a lot but really these are just common-sense measures, many of which we have already been following socially. With Covid going nowhere any time soon this practice will likely become second nature to us before too long.
If you are returning to face-to-face meetings and want assistance finding Covid-safe venues or want to chat more about the guidance and what it means for your business I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch or comment below.