In just a short few months, COVID-19 has impacted industries across the globe on an unprecedented scale, changing the course of nearly every organization’s growth for the foreseeable future. However, one unexpectedly positive side effect has been the amplification of technology and innovation across organizations. Technological ignorance is no longer acceptable in the modern workplace, and these unexpected challenges have accelerated the push for remote work, cloud technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Before COVID-19, around 8 million people worked from home in the United Kingdom. Since the outbreak, this has increased by 287%, with 23 million people now working from their home office. While some companies will opt to continue working from home as the pandemic simmers down, many will begin the process of moving back to the office, which is creating some unique challenges and opportunities for many organizations.
According to Accruent industry experts, the two most critical challenges faced by the return to the corporate office are:
- How to ensure proper workplace hygiene
- How to manage social distancing in the workplace
IoT in the Corporate Workplace
Facilities management has historically moved very slowly toward digital transformation over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to accelerate their transition to ensure proper workplace hygiene.
New, ascending technologies are now available for companies to adopt for managing their facilities, and ultimately drive better safety for the occupants of their building. In fact, this technology may help organizations manage these situations better than they could even pre-pandemic – it is merely up to the companies to pursue them.
However, the bigger question is still around facilitating and enforcing social distancing in the workplace.
A comprehensive workplace scheduling solution can provide an invaluable platform for ensuring safety and accessibility for employees. What’s more, complex workplace solutions such as Accruent’s EMS space and resource scheduling solution can also consider occupancy and HVAC data by integrating with IoT remote monitoring solutions like Accruent’s vx Observe.
This simple integration can transform how your Maintenance and Facilities teams to make informed decisions and manage day-to-day tasks, driving cost savings by implementing more energy- and space-efficient policies.
You can also leverage these tools to manage social distancing by employing some common tactics.
Space Utilization Data
Get detailed reports of how people are using spaces around your office to more adequately understand where and how people congregate. With detailed space utilization data, organizations can monitor the number of people per room and add trigger warnings or alarms when too many people occupy the same space at once.
By detecting the amount of Co2 in the air, you can determine the number of people in the meeting room, and then flag for cleaning or even trigger alarms in response if the space is over-crowded.
Implement Hot Desking
With more people working from home, not everyone needs a dedicated workspace. Allocate your office desks to workers only when they visit the office or create a rotating schedule for when employees can occupy a space. This will help restrict the number of workers coming into an office with such limited space available, and ensure each employee is aware of the space they need.
Utilize Heat Maps
With heat mapping technology, you can ensure there is a 15-minute window between meetings, allowing you to avoid busy entrances in front of meeting rooms. And depending on the number of occupants per meeting, you can also decide whether or not a deep cleaning of the space is required before it can be booked again
Manage Workplace Sanitation
Immediately notify cleaners when a room becomes available to ensure an in-depth cleaning process, both pre- and post-meeting. You can also indicate whether or not rooms or floors have already been cleaned, making this information available on room signage or by making a space unavailable for booking until it has been fully sanitized. This helps you guarantee a clean and safe environment for your employees at all times.
Gearing Up for the Return to the Workplace
Organizations will continue to face unexpected and challenging hurdles, even in a post-pandemic world. For now, we are focused on providing you with the tools and resources you need to manage the next big step forward – the return to the office. For more insights on creating a safe workplace while staying cost-efficient, you can visit our Return to Work resources hub.
If you like to hear more about how IoT technology can help you manage your workspace in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond, you won’t want to miss our on-demand webinar series: