Updated: Jul 28, 2020
For those trying to make the workplace safe and get employees and visitors to return to the office, there are two options:
Deploy the retail screens/tape and signs - to warn and enforce government guidelines.
Set a different tone with technology, upgrading the workplace experience and making the workplace safe, whilst harnessing valuable corporate real estate data.
Option 1 Tape/ Screens and signs
The upside is obvious, whilst costly it can be quick to deploy and a very visible reminder.
The downside its expensive, creates a horrendous workplace environment and your going to through it away in 6-9 months.
Option 2 Technology for the Visitor and Desk Management
Technology, the downside, slower to deploy, needs more consideration, you need complimentary technologies to extract the optimum benefits and the expense can be higher.
Upsides the return on investment can be instant, saving cleaning and staff costs, however the payback periods are very short.
For the author that's a financial view/perspective for a company conscious of cash , however the other benefits are huge:
Far easier to create a robust safe workplace.
Control occupancies and distancing, whilst automating sanitisation.
However, the real rewards short term are the safer workplace, 100% track and trace, no risk of health and safety enforcement orders, plus creating a better workplace experience, at the other end of the workplace experience spectrum.
However, that's for the short sighted, there are much bigger long term advantages of technology:
With all your visitor data, meeting room data and workplace desk data, then you have for once a powerful insight toolkit to understand how your workplace is being used, when its being used and to what extent its still relevant.
Given the now clear virtual working capabilities and rapid online collaboration advancements, there is no doubt the workplace has changed and for the long term, so is the workplace still as relevant?
With Real Estate being the 2nd cost after staff finance directors will be quick to pounce on the margin engineering opportunity.
For the COVID committee or the FM team this technology route has the huge benefit that WHEN the C-suite question the workplace relevance and future size , you have robust data, to substantiate the direction of travel and you have the credibility and reputation, with a great workplace experience, to stand tall and be heard.
So the technology benefits short term are:-
Decongested reception areas with fast transit times and all the visitor data you need.
Less staff in reception, so lower staff costs and increased safety through less exposure to visitors.
The ability to track and trace all visitors, should someone present symptoms at a later date.
A wow first impression, as the invite communicates branding, way-finding, QR codes for touchless check-in.
And a safer contact environment, with voice recognition touchless check-in and customised surveys.
That's reception, now the workplace
Fast booking and seamless GPS check-in.
Transparent workplace safety, I can see safe to use desks and closed desks.
I can see safe distancing, areas closed for sanitising.
Every thing to convince me the workplace is safe.
Plus,I can search for colleagues and make sure I sit near people, I want to collaborate with.
For the organisation, I know my usage stats, I can close areas and flex workplace loads myself, no help-desk support required.
Implementation timescales are less than 4 weeks, the cost of desk management software less than a £1 a desk a week and everything is hosted on Azure, so IT are happy with both security and scale.
Short term fix and expense / write off
Technology with a better workplace environment and safety, coupled with track and trace.
Plus short, medium and long term robust data for Corporate Real Estate engineering.
We know what we'd default to, what's your take?