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How businesses are using tech to reopen safely

Although there are signs that the infection rate is beginning to flatten in most countries, all of the experts agree that we can’t expect to go back to business as usual.

We are going to have to adapt our business practices to accommodate the current pandemic, and we have to be better prepared for similar events in the future. As with many crises, this is accelerating the adoption of recent innovations and technology, and this will also be the case for workplace safety.

A new analysis by JLL finds that landlords and companies are turning to technology to help protect the health and safety of employees who are returning to the office.

In the past many organizations adopted touch less office technologies, such as bathrooms with light-activated sinks and hand dryers for sustainability purposes. Now, technologies that were seen as nice-to-have are being added to reduce employee contact and ensure cleanliness.

How does a business stay operational while keeping employees and customers safe and preventing new COVID-19 outbreaks? Many companies are starting to implement more technology into their everyday work life. From apps on mobile phones to control lighting, temperature and AV equipment, to doors and elevators that open with corporate badges.

Companies like Amazon, Blue Cross Blue Shield and even New York’s Magnolia Bakery are paving the way for the use of technology keeping employees safe. See how these businesses are using technology to adapt and move forward:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield – adopted a QR code program for cleaning desks and conference rooms
  • Amazon- pledged to test all of its employees and build its own COVID-19 test center.
  • Magnolia Bakery – installed “cleanse portals”— they look like slim metal detectors — that use this technology. Customers step in, turn 360 degrees and remain for 20 seconds before entering the store.
  • Alibaba – employees must fill out a daily health questionnaire on an internal app before they travel to the company’s headquarters office; they must then present the color-coded results to get past building security.
  • RXR Realty in NYC – launching an app that tracks whether an employee is at least six feet away from another person

Solutions for a new beginning

Not all companies can afford to take on the use and creation of such hi-tech safety measures. A solution for most businesses is space planning. The CDC recommends establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Altering your workspace to help workers and customers maintain social distancing and physically separate employees from each other and from customers, when possible.

Our project managers can work with you to understand your needs and provide retro-fitted solutions that can be easily implemented; now, for the short-term and the long-term post covid-19.

We are currently supporting clients through sensible design strategies by;

  • Introducing one-way movement flows through the workspace
  • Reducing density by moving from agile working to fixed position, like moving desks apart and removing unnecessary chairs
  • Adding barriers between work areas introducing hard or fabric barriers that are scientifically proven to stop or deflect airborne viruses
  • Reconfiguring communal and ancillary spaces, such as break rooms and kitchen areas
  • Introducing flexible furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured

At all times, we are taking extra precautions to make your staff feel safe and protected in a viable working environment.

Because every day brings new developments in the fight against COVID-19, a plan-ahead team can help a company adapt and react quickly—and, ultimately, be better positioned to protect the health and safety of employees and customers alike.

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Across the country, states have developed pathways toward reopening their economies and are implementing protocols for businesses to reopen and for employees to return to workplaces.

Pandemic-proofing offices could involve short-term fixes, new working patterns and long-term design upgrades that put hygiene at the heart of what they do.

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