The Socially Distanced Workplace

Businesses are opening up in the North Bay, but life isn’t as it used to be. Each company must find new ways to move forward and find its footing amid a continued need to social distance during the ongoing pandemic.

At downtown Santa Rosa’s coworking space, coLAB, we understand that flattening the curve is possible when everyone does their part. As a business that exists for the betterment of our community, we take this very seriously. We want to ensure that we continue to adhere to guidelines set forth by the local government and the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, while maintaining an environment and resource for people to feel welcome and safe.

The protocols and policies that we have in place are designed to keep our space healthy, clean and comfortable. We want our model to be a resource for other businesses to follow in opening their own offices and workspaces. We know that the need for normalcy is important right now. Not only do we want people to know that they have a place to work, but we also want them to continue to love their workspaces. Here is what coLAB has done to ensure members are happy and productive during these especially trying times.

Productive space. To properly socially distance at work, it’s important to strategically redesign the entire space with productivity in mind. Available workspaces and desks should be carefully thought out and placed in areas where people are physically comfortable, but still have access to any resources they may need. These resources would include things such as meeting rooms, phone booths and audio/tech for Zoom calls or webinars.

Distancing. Employers should consider limiting capacity of offices, creating six foot distancing between workstations and placing six foot markers on the floor in high traffic areas, such as the kitchen, lounge areas or near restrooms. These markers will help people know where to stand as well as monitor a consistent traffic flow in and out of these areas. Meeting rooms should have lower capacities, allowing for spacious one-on-one connections and team meetings. Encouraging members to meet with their colleagues and clients virtually is also a successful new practice. An old practice, the phone call, also often meets this need.

Increased cleaning. Other practices to consider are cleaning policies. At coLAB, we’ve increased our sanitizing efforts to multiple times per day, paying special attention to all high-touch spaces such as the coffee machine touch screen, door handles and table surfaces. At coLAB, we have set up sanitization stations with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that are available for use throughout the entire space along with signage, asking members to wipe down any space before and after each use.

These cleaning routines are in addition to our routine cleaning team in the evenings and completed by coLAB staff. For peace of mind, our staff has also created a cleaning log and tracking system for our routines that is updated throughout the day. You may consider doing this in your space as well to allow employees to feel safe and part of the solution.

Monitor high-touch items. We cannot be too cautious, so we have also eliminated or minimized access to office supplies and a few amenities that we have provided in the past that are high-touch items. These new protocols and procedures are all dependent on each office’s unique space. For example, we have a new protocol for allowing members to purchase snacks and to request the use of daily office supplies at the front desk rather than leaving them out and available for anyone to touch. As things change and redevelop, our Health and Wellness Guide will also continue to evolve as we monitor local and national best practices.

How to properly socially distance at your workspace isn’t just about having protocols and policies in place, it is also about protecting and maintaining your business mission and values as best you can despite our ever changing world during this pandemic. Our community is our mission and it’s at the forefront of what we do every day, under any circumstance.


Destiny Banasihan is the Community Associate at coLAB in Santa Rosa. For more information or to schedule a tour, call Destiny at (707) 791-3433, or email The Health & Wellness Guide is available at

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