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Ways of working - the new normal

With the threat of the Coronavirus likely to be with us for some time yet, we need to continue adapting to a new way of working and living. So what does this look like for advice businesses?

The new workplace

Under the new guidelines, you and your employees must follow social distancing principles at work. These include staying 1.5 metres away from others and avoiding physical greetings like handshakes or hugs.


To work out how many people you can safely have in your workplace at one time, Safe Work Australia says each person in the office should have four square metres of space around them.1 To work this out, multiply the length of your office by its width and divide it by four. These guidelines apply to both employees and visitors to your office.


Good hygiene is crucial to help avoid future outbreaks of Coronavirus. Make sure you have hand sanitiser, tissues and disinfectant available in your reception and throughout the office. Consider printing out posters to promote safe hygiene principles. Remind your employees to stay away from the workplace and get tested for Coronavirus if they experience any cold or flu symptoms.

Managing concerns and expectations

Your employees and clients may be nervous about leaving the safety of their homes. Rather than forcing them to do something they’re uncomfortable with, it’s better to give them some options.


If your employees commute to work on public transport, consider whether you could operate your business with flexible working hours to help them avoid peak hour congestion. Alternatively, you may be able to give them the option of continuing to work from home some or all of the time. This will also help you manage the new office spacing requirements.


Let your clients know that even though your office is set up for social distancing, they can continue to meet with you online or over the phone if they prefer.

Getting social online

Now may also be the time to really embrace social media, blogs and live chats to connect with your clients, peers and community. It can be a great opportunity to increase your profile, strengthen your existing relationships and build new ones.


With large gatherings banned for the foreseeable future, you can find innovative ways to hold client seminars or training sessions online – like using online conferencing and webinar apps, or holding live sessions through virtual platforms. Focus on the client experience and think about how you can evolve your business to offer the same type of services but in a new, socially-distant way.


Even though it will feel different to what you’re used to, it’s important to recognise that this may be our ‘normal’ way of life for a long time. By maintaining a positive mindset and looking for opportunities within the current limitations, you can make the most of the new world for your business, employees and clients.

Safe Work Australia, Office: Physical distancing, updated 28 May 2020.

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