Boss Lady

Social distancing rules: how to enforce them in the workplace


This short guide outlines how to encourage and enforce social distancing rules in the workplace, to keep employees and clients safe from Covid-19.

Although vaccines have made it possible for people to go back to a bit of normalcy, the new strain of Covid-19, called the delta variant, is making its way throughout the country and the world. It’s continuing to spread and is even affecting those who received the vaccine.  This has certainly made it more difficult for employers to allow those working from home to return to the office. Because of the delta variant, masking, social distancing and quarantining are all becoming significant headlines once more. 

The delta variant of COVID-19 is more contagious and transmissible than the initial strain. It is especially affecting regions of the United States that have lower vaccination rates. Current vaccines do remain effective at least for six months after the last dose. Still, employers are encouraged to reinstate office social distancing rules during delta to ensure health and safety. 

How to enforce social distancing rules in the office. 

Offer Work-From-Home Opportunities

Even though things have been slowly getting back to normal with jobs, school and society in general, the delta variant still poses a risk. One way to enforce social distancing rules is to allow some of your employees to work from home. Many office jobs can allow for teleworking, which would enable people to complete their tasks remotely. Companies that require in-person work should have employees sit back to back or side by side instead of face to face.

Revise Hours and Schedules to Limit Contact

Revising your working hours and schedules can help limit contact between your employees, customers and visitors. When COVID-19 first began to spread, stores and businesses reserved hours for vulnerable populations. This is a great way to enforce social distancing rules. Additionally, you can rework employee schedules only to have a certain percentage of them come in on a given day. 

Use Signage as a Reminder to Social Distance

Signage and information pamphlets can inform employees and customers about physical distancing. It’s easy for people to forget about rules. The recommended distance between people is 6 feet, so add signs on your floors and walls to remind others what that looks like. Doing this slows the spread of the virus, meaning fewer people will be infected.

Limit Movement Throughout the Office

A great way to enforce social distancing rules in the office is to limit the movement of people throughout your workspace. Only allow a few selected individuals to occupy a space at a particular time. For example, you could restrict movement in high-traffic areas like lobbies by having staggered arrival times or planning breaks and bathroom usage schedules.

Reposition Furniture and Use Partitions

Office furniture can be repositioned to ensure everyone is a safe distance away from each other. Make sure desks are 6 feet apart and space out employees in different rooms. If you have a smaller office space, use desk dividers and partitions. These can be temporary or permanent, depending on your needs. The safest option is to have each person in their own office, but you should add space between desks if that’s not possible.

Offer Incentives

Everyone has their own opinions regarding COVID-19 health and safety regulations. However, to further encourage and enforce social distancing rules, you can offer the right incentives to prompt employees to practice social distancing and health measures. Encourage workers to complete a health evaluation or get regular COVID-19 testing and provide a small bonus for submissions. 

Reduce Maximum Occupancy for Employees and Visitors

Most buildings have quite a high occupancy rate, but it’s best to reduce your maximum occupancy for employees and visitors. Cap it at 50% or another percentage that feels safest for your office space. Don’t let people come in without an appointment, and keep to a minimum to lessen the spread.

Tell Employees With Symptoms to Stay Home

Encourage any employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home. The delta variant spreads quicker than the primary strain of the virus. If someone shows up to work with signs of the delta variant, they risk having the virus and could spread it to other workers, which would shut down your business for some time. Let your employees know it’s safest for them to stay home and get tested before returning to work. 

Encourage Employees to Get Vaccinated

Finally, encourage your employees to get vaccinated. Although not all companies can mandate this, having everyone vaccinated is the safest and most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant. If a company has over 100 employees, though, it may soon require the vaccine for in-person work because of President Biden’s new mandate. You can offer incentives for those who get the vaccine as well. 

Keeping the Workforce Safe and Healthy

The workplace can be challenging to navigate, especially since everyone has the right to their opinions regarding COVID-19. However, business owners should follow these tips on how to encourage social distancing rules in the office and effectively enforce it. Your primary concern should be the health of your employees at this time. 

About Ginger Abbott'

Ginger Abbot is an education writer with a special interest in career development and the workplace. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of, where you can read more of her writing.

Recommended for you