Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!

Episode #169 - Socially Bridge the Physical Distance



Introduction: Welcome to Health and Safety to Go! broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Host: Thanks for joining us. This podcast was recorded on Thursday, April 30, 2020. In today’s episode we’re talking about bridging the physical distance and connecting with one another during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Socially Bridge the Physical Distance:

The COVID-19 global pandemic is a challenging time. Preparation, positivity and patience go a long way to protecting our collective health as we all navigate through this unprecedented event together. However, feeling anxious along the way is understandable.

On the one hand, we are frequently reminded to keep a minimum 2-meter distance from one another, in order to prevent the spread of infection. For many workers, this takes away the opportunity for many of our daily interactions. On the other hand, we still need to maintain social connection to prevent those feelings of isolation and loneliness. While it may be challenging, it is possible to stay connected.

Here are some tips to help workers bridge the physical distance and connect with one other:

Text a work friend.  Pair up with someone you can reach out to throughout the day by text to just check in, say hello, and have quick exchanges.

Hang out in a “virtually” social space.  Set up a channel on Teams, Zoom, Slack or other communication tools that’s just for socializing. Establish that there’s to be strictly no work talk. And vice-versa, keep non-work talk out of your other channels, so that distractions are minimized.

Take a break together.   Breaks are still an essential part of the workday, even if you are working remotely. Take a lunch or coffee break together over a video chat and catch up.

Help out colleagues.   Offer to take and share notes during a call if someone can’t make it or can’t devote their full attention due to caregiving responsibilities. Send chat messages to see how people are doing. Let a manager or supervisor know if you suspect someone is struggling.

It is also important to take steps to manage your own health and well-being during this time.

Be patient with yourself and dedicate time for self-care.

Set status updates at work to let others know when you’re busy or unavailable.

Get enough rest. Aim for 7 ½ to 9 hours of sleep if you can.

Stay active. Take a walk somewhere in which you can safely maintain a 2-metre distance from others. Try one of the many free online workouts that you can do at home.

Disconnect from technology. Even though we are more reliant on technology than ever before in order to stay connected and productive, there needs to be balance. Take some time each day away from the screens in your life.

Set limits on your news consumption. Take breaks from listening or reading the news. Make sure that the updates you are getting are from reliable sources such as the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization.

Determine what is within your control. There is a lot going on out in the world that we cannot personally change. Try to focus your energy on things that you can do something about.

Especially during times of uncertainty, it is essential that you take steps to preserve your overall well-being by taking care of yourself and maintaining healthy connections with others.


For more information and resources relating to the coronavirus disease - COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone.