OMNIA Partners Blog

How to Purchase for Workplace Distancing

Posted by Grainger on June 25, 2020

With the “new norm” emerging, it’s necessary for companies to reevaluate how they’re going to maintain social distancing to protect employees from transmission of infectious diseases. Whether you’re preparing for returning staff or shutting down to take measures on existing procedures, workplace safety is the topic of a lot of discussions, but what are next steps for procurement to take in order to make their impact on business safety? What areas do considerations need to be made for? 

  • Work Stations
  • Shipping
  • Production Areas
  • Service Counters
  • Individual Work Cells
  • Retail
  • Product assembly
  • Store rooms
  • Office areas
  • Entry ways
  • Receiving
  • Cafeterias


Assessing hazards, risks and understanding controls solutions associated with the pre-occupancy phase is critical in ensuring employees return to a safe work environment.1
1 Grainger Consulting Services
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Basic hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing precautions can be implemented in every organization.2

2 The Centers for Disease Control

During facility and office recovery stages, redesign existing or layout new workspaces for process efficiency and employee safety to encompass:

  • Work stations for individual or group task
  • Lighting for increased visibility
  • Safety zones for employee well being
  • Signage for visual factory
  • Social barriers—plexiglass installation
  • Ergonomics for sustained employee health

Procurement and facility managers might want to consider some of the following purchases to help maintain efficiency and employee safety: steel deck platforms, cabinets, workbenches, anti-fatigue mats, sanitation stations, floor markings, signage, plexiglass, PPE, dividers, along with training and consultation services. 


With so much to consider it is difficult for procurement to gain a grasp on what is needed, required or how to leverage their spend in the best way to achieve workplace social distancing and safety. The type of solutions that should be purchased will vary greatly based on the type of work performed and how success is measured, but having an overview of the scope of solutions that should be on procurement’s radar can assist in creating a specialized “to-do” or “to purchase” priority plan for each business.This jumping off point will help procurement focus on and innovate their "workplace of the future." 

Another key consideration that impacts purchasing timelines will be shutdown and recovery periods as those provide the perfect opportunity to evaluate operational expenses, productivity analysis and competitive analysis.


No matter your business type, if you’re in manufacturing or a corporate office, working with your GPO can help locate the right offerings with the right mix of solutions to help build your new workplace layout, minimizing risk and cost - all while connecting you to a supplier that can meet all of your requirements. Your needs are diverse and every business faces unique challenges, meaning an "off-the-shelf" program won't cut it, especially during a pandemic when resources are even more scarce than typical.

Through your membership with OMNIA Partners you gain access to industry leading suppliers who can help develop customized solutions to fit those specific requirements, like Grainger.


Learn how Grainger is helping businesses tackle the layout of the future and how the solutions they offer through OMNIA Partners can assist you during this transition period. Want a consultative conversation to kick start this process? Fill out this quick form to get connected.  

Topics: Facilities & Infrastructure, Group Purchasing Organization, Supply Chain Management, Procurement, Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, gpo