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safety tips queuing quarantine

Tips on Safe Queue Management During Quarantine

As the governments around the world continue their battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), this is a chance for everyone to pitch in and fight the good fight.

There are several things we can do collectively to stop the spread: personal hygiene, following the official recommendations of the WHO, and practicing social distancing.

As such, companies should allow for remote work. We at Qminder have already elected to start working remotely, to curbstomp the possible risks of contagion.

Some of us are even blessed with pets helping us stay focused and productive when working from home.

remote working cat

“Hey, are you working or what?”

But not everybody has the same luxury. For healthcare facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores and government offices, staying open despite the outbreak is a duty, not an option.

And staying open means having queues, often much longer than usually, which brings about all kinds of risks.

To those organizations, Qminder is offering a helping hand. (Speaking of which, keep yours disinfected at all times!)

Follow the personal hygiene guidelines

Right now, the best we can do to stop the contagion is to maintain a safe distance of minimum one meter (three feet) from other people. Two meters (six feet) is ideal.

People have already started to respect the distance on their own, but it is sometimes difficult to gauge how close the other person is. To help them, you can put adhesive marks on your floor.

For example, this is how German and Danish supermarkets designate where people should stand to keep the distance (courtesy of Twitter):

social distancing in queues

That’s the weirdest game of tic-tac-toe I’ve ever seen

Moreover, you should regularly disinfect and wipe down all the surfaces that people come into contact with. This means sign-in kiosks too, as they are frequently touched by visitors.

Invest in alcohol-based disinfecting wipes and have a person stand by to make sure the screen stays clean at all times. Also consider providing your visitors with a hand rub for extra protection.

Keep your queues virtual

Another way to social distance is to get rid of crowds and physical waiting rooms altogether. If people don’t have to stand in a physical line, there are fewer opportunities for the virus to spread.

There might be a way for you to provide service in a contactless manner, while still having an organized queue. For example, you can have designated service agents accepting phone or email inquiries. The visitors are then added to the virtual queue in Qminder.

Here’s how one of Qminder clients has been operating during the quarantine period:

Our walk-up service desk is unmanned, with no waiting area to maintain social distancing. The customers log in on the iPad, we greet them with a text message and see if we can resolve the issue remotely. Only then, we request to meet them in a large open area to resolve their IT issue, with absolute minimum contact with customers and their IT assets.

Migrating queues to the virtual space is a sure way to keep the contagion at bay.

Use SMS messages for contact-free queuing

Since your main goal should be to empty your lobbies as much as possible, Qminder TV is not as relevant. You want to inform visitors outside your location, not only those currently in your waiting area.

SMS text messages are ideal not only for notifying your customers about their upcoming turn, but also to keep them posted about potential changes in the service: working hours, delays, lunch time, etc.

SMS message remote queuing

The politeness of customers depicted may differ from reality

From their side, customers get to warn you about their wish to cancel or reschedule. All of that — and without the need for face-to-face contact.

Want to see Visit Planner live in action? Go take a look at TPCA Lab and Alameda Permit Center’s pages.

If you would like to use the SMS text messaging feature, reach out to us. We will get the system up and running for you.

Let your customers pick the best time to visit

Quarantines are only effective if people leave their home as seldom and for as little time as possible.

This is not always feasible, as people generally have few means to gauge how busy the location they’re going to will be. If they’re unlucky, the queues might be too long, forcing them to spend more time outside their home than necessary.

That’s why we advise you to start using Visit Planner, which is a special webpage that helps provide your customers with crucial information:

  • how many visitors you currently have
  • the average waiting time at your location
  • the recommended time to visit.

recommended times to visit

Here’s how a typical Visit Planner page may look like

This way, people can tell at a glance whether right now is the ideal time for them to leave their home, or if they should wait it out.

If you’d like to get a Visit Planner page of your own, contact us and we will work out an offer for you.

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Although the circumstances have left us divided physically, we are still in it together. Let’s not lose ourselves to panic, and use this time to strengthen the bonds we have.

Once this all blows over, we will get to hug each other once more.

Stay safe and healthy!

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COVID-19 Safety Guidelines: 7 Tips on Safe Queuing and Workplace Practices