How Technology can help to create a safe work environment to return to work post-Covid 19

We all are shocked! The lives of billions of people around the world have suddenly stopped, and the COVID-19 outbreak is creating the most global lockdown of the recent history. But at the end, this crisis will pass, and we will return to “regular” life sooner or later., whatever it means “regular” after COVID-19 and we will need to go back to a safe work environment.

As days are passing, tons of questions arise: How will the deconfinement process be? How will we return to our new routine or we get back to work? How will be life after COVID outbreak? And, the real thing is: we don`t know. In fact, none knows. The unique certainty is that our lives will change because we have changed. And also, the way in which people connect and interact each other will be different.

Probably, all of us will behave different when we go back to work. Our feeling about major priorities have changed and we will look for addressing them. According to this article written in chief executive online newspaper, the most important thing in our back-to-work moment will be feeling we are within a healthy, trusty and safe environment.

What should be the main objective for employers on this returning to work?

When the lockdown ends, the main goal of companies should be to assure employees’ health and safety and to be able to convince them that their safety is the most important thing.

It seems easy, but it is not! For employees, being back to the physical workspace might be something very stressful and companies should acknowledge that is going to have a straight impact in their productivity and mood

What are the main actions taken to get this objective?

The main actions to guarantee a safe work environment and employees’ best health and safety conditions would be:

  1. Set company policies to keep social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other diseases. For example:
    • Reducing occupancy in workstations, meeting rooms, common areas, restaurants, … to increase social distance.
    • Reducing Capacity inside the building to avoid crowds and increase social distance.
  2. Reinforce hygienic cleaning system and sanitization procedures, specially on the most used areas.
  3. Communicate and establish a good hand-washing protocol and installing enough hydro alcohol dispensers.
  4. Proper control and manage queues in different areas of the workspaces or buildings (canteen, entrance, common areas, etc).
  5. Communicate these actions to the employees and be the guards of their fulfillment.

But we are pretty sure that when lockdown ends, and creativity starts to work, more measures will emerge.

How can Technology help Managers create this safe work environment?

  1. Monitoring actual social distance and determine how well is being performed. In this crisis, the most effective measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 has been increasing the social distance. And it seems that is going to be a must when people are back to work.

If companies are able to track anonymously people movements inside the workspace, it will check social distance accomplishment. Having this information, operation and HR Managers will be able to:

    • understand the impact of sensibilization campaigns about it within the company.
    • adopt new actions (more communication, physical barriers deployments, etc.) to increase/guarantee social distance.
    • keep going on the same strategies because protocols are satisfactoriness

Nevertheless, if you don’t measure the social distance, how can you be sure that the actions are being good enough? How can you be sure that employees are safe in your office and how can you say it to them?

  1. Reducing occupancy. In order to bring on the actual social distance, reducing office occupancy in the workspace, limiting the number of people in a meeting room, common areas, canteen, etc. is probably one of the most effective actions. If managers want to have a safer and trustier place to work, it seems to be a good idea must reducing their available seats for working and control that anyone is using the space according to a new bunch of rules.

So you need know in real time and in an accurate way the occupancy of every single space of the office and how many people are in and set thresholds and triggers to launch alarms to take action.,

  1. Reducing capacity. Another strategy will be to reduce the offices capacity. Doing so requires analyzing in real time people inside an office, room or space.
  2. Deeper sanitization of specific areas. At this point, managers already know the areas that have been the most used ones inside the offices. With this information cleaning staff could be more effective paying higher attention on that areas to guarantee the proper sanitization intensity.
  3. Understanding the accomplishment of hand washing protocol
  4. Managing queues. One of the most conflictive points will be the canteen due to long queues and the crowded times.

It is not just managers can know how crowded is a space but employees can decide the moment to go.  Sharing this information with employees allows them to know when, for example, the canteen is less crowded and to adjusting the moment they can go.

In addition, Operations Managers could establish new cleaning periods for this area when the threshold was passed.

Conclusions

There is a bunch of possibilities to provide enough levels of trust and security to employees at the same time companies accomplish with the legal duty of ensuring their employees’ health and safety in the work environment. As technology was and still is involved on controlling the COVID-19 spreading, technology will be helpful on recovering the regular situation with the highest level of trust. It will be part of the close future and maybe, our new regular life.

Read more about our solution in the use case Create a safe work environment post-covid19. 

Note: External Image by Engin Akyurt and Internal Image by MetsikGarden from Pixabay.