Physical distancing in the workplace

A temporary occupancy model

Use this guide to help you work out:

  • how to arrange seating
  • guide staff members around the building
  • maintain a safe distance between co-workers.

Returning to the office

While physical distancing measures are in place, our work space will be used a little differently.

Maintaining a minimum of 1.5m from others will help us stop the spread and continue to flatten the curve.

We don’t have to change our spaces while we are in this transitionary phase.

It's all about how we occupy the space.

Three office workers, each staying 1.5 metres away from each other. Arrows between them show the 1.5m distance.

Desk areas

Opposite or diagonal seating configuration will ensure there is 1.5m between workers.

Opposite seating

A seating plan seen from above, showing two rows of seats and a 'no' symbol over every second seat.

Most desks are a minimum of 750mm deep, with a dividing screen of 50mm, which will meet the minimum 1.5m distance in an opposite seating configuration.

Diagonal seating

A seating plan of two rows of desks, seen from above, with a 'no' symbol over every odd seat on one side, and every even seat on the other side.

If your desks are less than 750mm deep, then adopt the diagonal seating configuration to maintain the 1.5m distance.

Meeting spaces

Meeting spaces can be used for focused work or small meetings. We encourage making use of virtual meetings wherever possible.

Six person or more meeting space

A seating plan of a large meeting room, showing which seats to avoid in order to keep 1.5 metres from other occupants.

Meeting and conference spaces that usually accommodate 6 or more people will support at least two people at a time as long as seating is 1.5m apart.

Four person meeting space

A seating plan of a small meeting room, with four seats around the table, showing that three of them should not be used. This allows the person in the room to maintain a 1.5m distance.

Four person meeting spaces will generally only support one person at a time unless the table is at least 1.5 metres in diameter or length.

Support spaces

Utility space and quiet rooms

A floor plan of a utility space, showing printers and recycling bins, spaced more than 1.5m apart so that people can use them while remaining physically distant.

One to two people can usually use a large utility space provided the 1.5m social distance is maintained.

You should use alcohol-based wipes to clean multi-function devices and other office equipment after each use.

Quiet rooms should be one person only. You should wipe down the desk and any equipment after each use.


Moving in a single direction around the floor will minimise the risk of getting closer than 1.5m from others.

Dual core buildings

A floor plan from a dual-core building, with arrows in walking spaces and corridors to indicate how to walk around in a clockwise direction

Single core buildings

A floor plan from a single-core building, with arrows in walking spaces and corridors to indicate how to walk around in a clockwise direction

Use signage to encourage everyone to travel in a clockwise direction and maintain a 1.5m distance.

In an emergency, people can still move in any direction to reach their nearest fire exit.

Help stop the spread and stay healthy.

Print this guide

You can print this guide as a poster to share around your workplace.

Physical distancing in the workplace: a temporary occupancy model (PDF, 563 KB)