Featured Article What does your return to workplace strategy look like?

Following the challenge of transitioning and supporting an entire workforce to work from home in an incredibly short space of time, came the challenge of how to safely return those home workers to the office or campus. How do you plan to ensure the safety and security of your employees and ease their concerns about returning to the workplace?

Qolcom has considered this question and suggests that businesses put the focus back on smart, connected spaces and leveraging existing infrastructure, IoT devices and sensors to create a ‘no- touch’ environment in a concentrated effort to provide a more comfortable situation for employees when they come back to the office.

Whether it is through increased communication, a reduction of physical touchpoints, acting on analytical feedback from the building or developing mobile solutions, a return to workplace strategy should address the needs of the user, operations, and the business. For example, Qolcom’s Digital Workplace solutions can enable this in the following ways:

Measure crowdedness – Get insights and alerts into how crowded your building, floors or company restaurant are. This helps you control social distancing and preserve health and safety measures

Targeted messaging – Communicate directly with all employees about company re-integration policy updates, hygiene tips, social distancing tips and work from home tips

Phased employee return – Provide users with a mobile calendar to show dates that they are allowed in the office and gain clear insight of the real-time number of people within the office through Wi-Fi Analytics

Touchless room booking and visitor registration – Enable your employees to book a room touchless and on the go (including Exchange 365 full cloud integration and AD & SSO), at the same time pre-registering and approving visitor access and Wi-Fi. You can also keep track of your room usage to adjust your cleaning schedules

Hygiene control – Enable your employees to take pictures & report an unsanitary situation, request cleaning, or let you know the office is out of hygienic products

Manage Coronavirus-related critical incidents – Provide a heatmap of the user’s historical presence on- campus, to plan for (a) notifying users who may have had close contact with them and (b) support considerations associated to deep cleaning

Health & Safety knowledge base – Provide your employees with easy mobile access to all your health and safety plans, documents and contact details in a central location

Measure employee satisfaction – Easily create mobile questionnaires within a UX app to send to your workforce

Book a Conference Room via a UX app

Allow users to see real-time availability of physical conference rooms and office spaces to book meetings from the convenience of their phone. Users can directly check participant availability, invite others to the meeting and schedule refreshments to be delivered to the meeting room. Bookings are saved and can be viewed, modified, or cancelled at anytime from anywhere. Saves time for all employees and meeting participants to have real-time, on-demand access to their personal agendas and scheduling tools. Plan engagement in advance without having to be on site. The decision of “where will I work when I arrive” starts at home. Organisations can get real data on meeting space usage and occupancy.

Book & Release a Conference Room (presence/beacon)

Enter and book a room by activating the beacon inside of the room which automates communication between a mobile app and triggers automatic booking settings. Just as easily, release the room once you leave the room (with your app) and are outside of the beacon’s range.

This helps meeting organisers manage rooms through location-aware beacon and sensor technology and eliminates the need to touch a sign or a keypad. Improving touchless and frictionless working users who may have had close contact with them, and support considerations associated to deep cleaning.

Employee Density Monitoring with Alerts (Space Utilisation)

Often utilising existing wireless infrastructure, the addition of an analytics and location engine can monitor, report, and manage the population and density of a space. This can be used internally within operations , or outward facing to employees. They can decide on where to work without having to walk around an office space to make that judgement. The business can understand how under or over utilised an area is. Report space utilisation back to the business, and/or communicate with staff and deploy safer working initiatives. You can set Occupancy limitations and thresholds with triggered alerts.

Emergency, Security & Safety Management

Use communication and safeguarding apps to communicate with staff during an event or for a new directive. Target comms to specific areas or direct responders to deal with incidents of overcrowding. Users can report a situation should they feel uncomfortable with a spaces occupancy or how people are behaving.

Give Employees the confidence to use workspaces effectively and efficiently knowing that there are processes in place to deal with any situation. Organisations are fulfilling a duty of care to employees by being able to respond to such events.

Streamlined Visitor Access

Allow visitors to be pre-registered or to self-register and gain Wi-Fi access through automated processes from their own mobile device, without the need to use public consoles or approach a reception desk. Gives visitors and employees choices of how to maintain a comfortable distance between each other and limits the use of shared tools.

Mobilise Facilities Management

Powered through an app, implement a system for requesting room cleaning or area sanitisation. Users, through a few clicks in the app, submit a ticket, asking to clean up a spill or sanitise a previously used room. Facilities can receive requests via notifications. Employees feel more comfortable to come into the office and stay at the office longer, if they feel the work environment, they are accessing is getting the required attention from a health and cleanliness standpoint.