Using technology to help in the office.
With guidelines now in place to encourage a safe return to the office, investing the latest technology may prove to be
unexpectedly useful, especially as landlords and employers have some control over the steps they take.
Mask wearing, handwashing, workstation and equipment sanitising, social distancing and open windows are all commonplace efforts to prevent the spread of infection. Though work patterns may have changed for some people, a return to the office is making a comeback be it full or part-time.
However, with the increased opportunity for home-working, and some companies questioning whether the cost of office space is worth it, landlords and employers may find themselves wondering how to make the office return more appealing.
From relatively simple visible improvements such as temperature checks, one-way systems and lift use, and touchless entry, companies can go really high-tech by investing in thermal scanners, plexiglass shields and GPS fobs that vibrate when wearers get within a certain distance of each other.
Of course, simply investing in new technical products does not solve the overall problem and cannot guarantee a reduction or prevention of infection, but in combination with thorough and regular cleaning, social distancing and in particular vigorous ventilation, they may improve confidence.
Clarity over seating arrangements and timing could be managed by software so that rooms are booked for a certain time on certain days with the ability to stagger arrival and departure times, enabling staff to go into the office for targeted, specific, time-limited reasons.
That way, despite the inevitable hotspots of lifts and restrooms (though a light in the main office to indicate whether they are vacant or occupied could be viable), reducing the load on the office traffic should help.
In the end, all the technology in the world won’t help if people don’t adhere to guidelines, so managing behaviour is key, but if employees have reasonable processes to follow, their confidence should increase, and office returns should follow.
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