MONTREAL -- It’s a bit noisy, but it works.

A group of Montreal manufacturers has come up with a new technology called the Social Distancer that can help those struggling to physically distance themselves from others when returning to the office.

It’s the size of a cell phone and can be clipped to your waist band.

“It comes out of the box deployable, so you take this out of the box, you power it on,” said Jarred Knecht, one of its developers. “It has a rechargeable battery that lasts 10-12 hours, so a full shift.”

The device lights up, vibrates and gives off a sound if people are within two-and-a-half metres of each other.

Each person has to be wearing the device for detection to occur.

“It’s a reminder,” said Knecht. “It’s a nudge. 'Hey, you’re a little too close. Oops I forgot.'”

The patent is pending, but the plan is to roll the product out the third week of May. Each device will sell for $199.

The idea came about when trying to convince staff to come back to work.

“A lot of the comments were, ‘how do I make sure I respect it, and everybody else respects my space?'” said Knecht. “People are not accustomed to staying apart.”

Human resources professor at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal Angelo Soares says lack of contact will have lasting effects, as work environments will have to adapt until a vaccine is found.

“We construct our identity through the relationships that we have in our lives at work and outside work because now we have all these barriers," he said. "The construction of identity is difficult, and our identity is the protection of our mental health.”

For now, Knecht and his colleagues wants to keep each other safe while at work.

“We think if we gave the employees the tool to be responsible and be respectful of their co-workers that they would do that and, in turn, they would feel safe and secure coming back to work,” he said.”