It seems that the government has a clear will to get organisations back to work as soon as practically possible. With safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it’s equally evident that the need to socially distance in the office is not just a ‘back to work’ issue, but is a long term strategy. Without the ability to suddenly conjure up additional footprint, but with government guidelines clearly stating that workers must be kept 2m from others, there are obvious difficulties for which all types and sizes of organisations will be seeking solutions
The need to socially distance raises three important challenges in a typical workspace
The first apparent thing that must be addressed is desk use. Many offices will still be working with the traditional ‘designated’ desk space set up for workers, and in these circumstances it’s an issue of proximity. Open plan working has become the norm in recent years, often with clusters of desks facing each other – the worst possible scenario for safety. Moreover, if the move has been made to a hot-desking model, the challenge is greater still. Multiple workers using the same space is just not going to be possible in the way it was before.
Room capacity is the second issue. Huddle spaces that seemed innovative up until just recently, may well end up obsolete. Meeting rooms capacities have suddenly halved. Each meeting space will need to be thoroughly sanitised in-between uses. Meetings will likely include higher numbers of remote staff than ever before, but that raises challenges around effective collaboration and inclusion, especially when each person may be working on their own device. Ensuring clarity of sound is a headache too when team members can no longer group around a central microphone system.
The third area to address is visitor management. The traditional sign-in system just isn’t fit for purpose now – and ironically those organisations that have invested in what they believed were future-proofed systems such as touch technology are the ones with the greatest challenges.
There are elegant and simple to use solutions to all these problems
GoBright is an innovative space booking solution that ensures employees can attend their jobs safely, using a cleaned desk. Employees can book their desk before they leave for work from an app or desktop, with the system only allowing bookable desks to be chosen. Within the system, desks can be designated as bookable, closed, or awaiting cleaning. The status of each desk is clearly visible in the physical location, and the criteria for each status is easily changed as government guidance evolves. It means workers can ensure a desk will be available before leaving home, that safe distancing is maintained and that cleaning can be tackled in a timely way to maximise capacity.
Room management can also be tackled with GoBright. Automatically amend room capacity as chairs are removed, close rooms that are awaiting cleaning and count people in and out to be certain that the new maximum capacity is not exceeded. Within meeting rooms, Nureva’s HDL300 audio conferencing system ensures that everyone, whether present or not, can be clearly heard, no matter how far apart they are sitting. Add Nureva’s cloud-based software solution, Span Workspace to the meeting room and you have all the tools you need for effective voice and data collaboration from any device.
GoBright’s visitor management element lets visitors pre-register so that the receptionist can ensure total visitors do not exceed the daily maximum and arrive at varying times. On arrival, signing in and out is contactless, as pre-registered visitors can be signed in via the GoBright portal. Where the reception is unmanned, the process can be managed via QR codes.
The need to socially distance at work is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Employees will, quite rightly, be seeking reassurances about the measures their employer is taking to mitigate risk and meet government criteria.
Ascentae’s range of hardware-agnostic technology solutions support employers in addressing their corporate responsibility to manage social distancing in their long-term workplace strategies.
Access the Government guidance document ‘Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres’ here.
Clauses relating to this blog can be found on pages 7, 10, 13, 20, 27