Covid - 19 The Safe Workplace and the social enterprise - how do we deliver it?

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Lockdown has some benefits, the opportunity to catch up on some reading. When I want to learn I invariably turn to Deloitte's Global Human Capital Report, as it's wise to study how organisations are challenged today, in the human capital/talent area, when you work for an organisation looking to address the needs of the workplace.

So I'll summarise the 1st chapter, before entering how do we address its findings in the ever present Covid-19 era and how we get back to work and prepare for it.

Fig 1 The Report - Click the Image to download it.

A Top finding in Chapter 1 is the rise of the Social Enterprise, which for those like me learning, is an enterprise that still focuses on profit and growth , whilst balancing the needs of the environment and its stakeholders.

So the very first thing that struck me was the highest growth companies were those that were more Social Enterprise focused.

Fig 2 Social Enterprise relative growth ambitions

So what does a Social Enterprise think about and concern itself with?

Fig 3 The Social Enterprise Key Drivers

Purpose and Meaning

Right now, that's keep my workforce safe.

And in the last 2 weeks, we have seen an increasing urgency to address the matter of "how do we return to work and full productivity - safely!" Question How do we create the Safe Workplace?

Ethics and Fairness

Follow the same theme, how are we going to treat people fairly, when they split into three very different groups? How do we protect each different group in the new safe workplace?

Collaboration and Teamwork

Microsoft Team's and Zoom and others have pulled out the stops to meet the rising demand from a surge in 10's of millions of people a day, now meeting and working online,complete visual interaction and teamwork, learning to adapt to this lockdown world. Can we keep all those infected remote working till we get 100% tested or a vaccine?

Transparency and openness

Never as important when the consequences of one careless action could result in infection and for the elderly something worse. What is our safe workplace policy going to look like and translate like for each group of worker?

Fig 4 Three different worker populations

Growth and Passion

Right now that's how do I learn to work safely now in this environment with a very personal agenda of at the same time keeping my isolated household occupants safe?

So "Before Covid" (BC) what was it that organisations placed in their top three concerns, see fig 5:

Learning to work in this "lockdown" world is really relevant, however after the 1st wave, we need to learn how to work together at the workplace, in what is going to be a very different world.

Some learns from the last 2 weeks are:

1. The Workplace will have to treat its three normal workplace inhabitants very differently:

- Assigned seats will now need social distancing rules and strict santisation regimes, combined with traceability.

- On demand resources like Hot Desks and Meeting Rooms need a new norm, booking, traceability, tracking who has used them when and who sat next to who, become very real requirements of the safe workplace.

- Visitors, how do we manage them? The immediate response is we don't have them, while we think about it a bit more, then it moves to the decluttering of receptions, bringing in touchless processes, temperature scanning, express check-in at reception with express pass through security barriers, whilst maintaining security. Plus tracking who met who when, in case the symptomless, turn out to be carriers.

2. So let's go into what we have seen being tabled from sensible to "carrying bits of paper", to adapt to the new safe workplace style by former style of workplace use type:

Assigned Seats

Firstly, they are going to need to be spaced at least 6m apart!

That immediately introduces for some, a 2:1 or worse desk ratio, which also means you haven't enough desks for the BC world.

The Good News

We have learnt to remote work, however the desks now need to be managed:

- Cleaned or sterilised/sanitised after use, which requires visibility of which ones where used?

- That may mean "booking desks" when you want to, or need to come in.

Desk booking is an art, and one of the few things that most organisations cannot manage with Microsoft Outlook or Exchange Resources.

Fig 6 Booking Safe Workplace Seats

However, there are some suppliers of software only (fast to implement, not dependant on hardware) desk booking, the key is making it easy and fair to book.

Fig 7 Simple Mobile device Desk Booking Floor plan

The next challenge

Is Introducing the policy quickly, for those CTO's who use Microsoft, (79% or higher) you already know Outlook and Exchange do not handle desk booking.

However, Cleaning now becomes vital too, as does managing cleaning and vendors.

Fig 8 Enhancing Microsoft to create a Safe Workplace

The above image is a list of what Microsoft enhancing market leaders deliver, that automatically "syncs" with Exchange, enabling the unique Microsoft Synch capability, which removes double booking and gives you two booking routes:

Route 1 - for your simple requirement, the user stays with outlook and just books a desk or meeting room using the add-in.

Route 2 - The advanced user, selects cleaning, catering or other requirements using the market leading booking routes software.

- The beauty is both Synch in virtual real time, so no double bookings or health risks associated.

Booking assigned seats, has become the new hot topic, with hundreds of thousands of new desk booking seats being requested in the last 2 weeks.

But hang on, I hear you ask, how do we fund that?

- firstly, your disaster recovery option (fixed but mothballed space) can be reviewed, which two companies have already done, cancelling contracts as they are not Covid prepared and repurposing the budget to create a safe workplace.

- secondly, remote working has now become second nature to many and this gives you new options, to manage the number of seats numbers, that are now required.

Thirdly, as a last resort find the budget, as your employees are not returning to a workplace that isn't safe to work at! Reduced travel costs, reducing cleaning costs, reduced reception staff have all been considered and used.

On Demand Workplaces

Hot Desk and Meeting Rooms have similar requirements, however now the emphasis has changed:

- Meeting Rooms, knowing when they have been used is now critical, for cleaning and sanitising prior to next use.

- Having a system that can be booked in Outlook and uses Exchange resources, in Microsoft, is key (that doesn't change) however, we now need to add a buffer time to each booking to get the room cleaned.

- We need to tell the cleaning team to get the task done quickly and then once completed, change the booking status back to bookable.

Fig 9 Your Very specific daily cleaning floor plan, for the new Safe Workplace.

The responsible Social Enterprise will require, the transparency and visibility, of what needs to be tackled and when, with a decent real time dashboard. Those that are, wisely considering this multiple data source reporting tool. Click here for the sake workplace dashboard blog.

With Meeting Rooms, we have similar requirements to booked desks and we will not repeat the requirements, but cover another key related area, visitors.

Visitor Management

As we return to work, visitor management does not become a "Facilities Management Sole Responsibility Area" it is now an HR and Security concern, a business risk, to the safe workplace.

For those that want to get this right, it's can be a self financing exercise, to invest quickly in one of two solutions we would recommend, however let's look at some of the requirements you may now need?

  1. The No 1 requirement, is total control of who is coming in the building and visiting who.

  2. The No 2, complete transparency of that data for robust track and trace reporting.

  3. The No 3, a simple process, that for the majority starts with Microsoft Outlook for booking.

  4. The No 4, a simple flow of visitor and host data from Outlook, via the meeting invite into your visitor management system. (See Integrated Solutions)

  5. The No 5, a system that takes that host and visitor data, from Outlook invites,that is integrated to your Visitor Management system (you do not want it manually keyed in)

  6. The No 6, an express visitor check-in system, that declutters the reception area.

  7. The No 7, a touchless visitor management process that does not require "fingers" on screens or devices, that are not personal devices.

  8. The No 8, a tracking and tracing process for visitors that met hosts, so we can fulfill our safe workplace responsibilities.

  9. The No 9, a process that's so efficient, it means I can cut or retask reception staff so they are either safer or a cost benefit, delivering savings.

  10. The No 10, an express check-in process, that also enables barcode access past security barriers, without increasing security concerns, ie complimenting "black lists" alert processes.

  11. The No 11, On arrival the check in process creates an auto host alert system by SMS or Email, that ensures visitors are recovered from reception quickly.

Fig 10 The Express check in demonstration - that process may look like this

The diagram below shows how the process works, and the vendors we recommend have introduced touchless or medically responsible checkin process enhancements in the last 4 weeks.

Fig 11 The Safe Workplace, with enhanced functionality, starting from Microsoft tools.

So our new safe workplace delivers the WoW visitor experience as well as ensuring our visitors and their hosts are protected.

Fig 12 Deloitte's readiness chart of who is ready versus its ranked human capital priorities

As we move back to how ready the organisations were to address their top concerns prior to Covid-19, most lagged in readiness the level of importance they attached to it.

Time to be ready!

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