I have noticed that many, many very religious people look around the shul prior to starting Shemona Esrei and then, when they take three steps back, they again look around the shul whilst saying the final Yehi Ratzon after Oseh Sholom. Is there a source or reason for this?
In my observations, people don't just look briefly directly behind them or to the side (as I would expect if they were just trying to avoid a collision or walking into someone else's davening space) but rather are looking around after they have stepped back and are saying the Yehi Rotzon. They are doing the same prior to Shemono Esrei: they are looking around the entire shul, not just briefly immediately behind them.
I ask the question because I see this done by almost everyone, mainly learned people.