Don't schedule group lunches or organise birthday celebrations with your colleagues yet. Safe distancing rules still apply.
It’s Phase 1 of the exit from circuit breaker tomorrow (Jun 2), and some workers might be preparing to return to work. Before you embrace your colleagues and work BFFs that you have not met in person for almost three months, do bear in mind that safe distancing rules still apply.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has advised that working from home should be the default option in the first two phases. Employees who have been working from home must continue to do so, and should only head to the office where there is no alternative.
Here’s a list of what you can and cannot do in the office once circuit breaker rules are eased from Jun 2.
What you cannot do
While you can probably work at the same desk with your colleagues – make sure you’re seated at least 1 metre apart – social gatherings such as birthday parties and team-bonding activities are not allowed.
Having meals with your colleagues, be it during or after working hours, is not advised. That also means you cannot meet your colleagues outside the office after work ends – post-work drinks will have to wait.
Companies are also advised to cancel or postpone work events that require close or prolonged contact, such as conferences, seminars and exhibitions. Penalties for employers and workplaces that do not comply with these rules may include “stop-work orders and fines“.
What you can do
Check with your employer if working from home is the default from Jun 2. But if you are required to work in the office, remember to wear a mask at all times and use the SafeEntry digital check-in and check-out system. For obvious reasons, don’t head to the office if you are feeling unwell.
Even if you are not allowed to eat with your colleagues during lunch breaks, don’t panic – you may still have your meals at your office pantry or canteens.
However, working and break hours may be staggered to reduce the possibility of workers gathering at common office spaces. This also means no more gossiping with your work BFFs at the office pantry while making your morning tea. #guilty
Some offices may also arrange for employees to enter and exit the office through different doors to minimise social interactions. It might take you longer to navigate around the office, but it’s all being planned for your own safety.
Depending on your employer, working hours may be tweaked so that employees can avoid travelling on public transport during peak hours.
Shift or split-teams may also be arranged to reduce further interactions between employees. If you have to meet your colleagues from separate teams, you can only do so via online meeting platforms like Zoom and Skype.
On top of these physical restrictions, the best way you can help yourself and your colleagues is to continue maintaining good personal hygiene and exercising social responsibility at the office.
Monitor your health regularly by checking your temperature in the office twice daily. Wash your hands frequently with water and soap and inform your supervisors immediately if you are feeling unwell.
Let’s do our part to be socially responsible so that we can all reunite with our colleagues and, gulps, bosses in the office soon!
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