Guide

The ultimate guide to touchless technology in the workplace

As organizations start reopening, the greatest challenge in the workplace is how to add the necessary safety precautions that will make employees feel safe while staying productive.
Read on to find out all there is to know.

01. The Challenge

Boosting employee confidence in the workplace

After spending the majority of 2020 living under various stages of quarantine and lockdown, employees across the globe are ready to return and interact with their colleagues in-person, with almost half of workers saying they believe their work needs face-to-face interaction.

The office isn’t going away but it’s evolving into a meeting place where employees can come together and share their ideas. The concept of work from an office has now become “work from anywhere”. As organizations start reopening, workplace leaders’ greatest challenge is adding the necessary safety precautions to make employees feel safe while managing the reduced real estate footprint to assign, manage, and clean desks more efficiently.

As employees are gearing up to return, there is still some anxiety over transmitting viruses in the office. A recent PwC study showed that over half of the surveyed employees are concerned about getting sick when they return to the workplace.

Creating clean and hygienic workspaces equipped with technology that supports social distancing is paramount to addressing health concerns, and stringent processes put employees minds at ease, so they feel confident to return.

We may not go back to 100% in the office all the time, but we'll find that being together physically delivers value in productivity, creativity and relationships, and that is irreplaceable.

Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International Inc.

WHAT DO EMPLOYEES NEED TO FEEL SAFE

33%

Said touchless fixtures would make them feel comfortable returning to the office
(Gensler)

45%

Want to see their office layout reconfigured for safe distancing
(PwC)

68%

Would like to see a reduced number of shared workspaces
(Gensler)

50%

Want assurances about how the workplace facilities will be cleaned and disinfected
(PwC)

02. The Opportunity

Reimagining the workplace with touchless technology

Many organizations are preparing to reopen by deploying touchless technology in their offices to reduce reliance on high touchpoints like desks, meeting rooms, light switches, touchpads and elevator buttons, that are potential virus transmission points.

Post-Covid adopters of touchless technology are now going through an incremental process of finding out how to efficiently manage spaces and resources to keep the office safe, while also delivering an exceptional workplace experience.

This trend has propelled the adoption of workplace apps that only require a touch on a personal mobile device. Mobile devices have become the ‘passport’ to navigate the workplace, acting as remote controls to access and reserve desks and meeting rooms, with no physical touch on shared equipment required. They allow users to interact with spaces virtually, providing the same experience both in and out of the office.

The future of work will be all about the experience, rather than the physical space, and it is the effectiveness, flexibility and safety of this experience that, in the employee’s eyes, will be the primary determinant of workplace success.

There are negatives to working from home. We've seen productivity drop in certain jobs and alienation go up in certain things, but we also want to get back to work in a safe way.

James Dimon, CEO JPMorgan Chase & Co.

03. Returning to work

A phased return to the workplace

As more countries begin to relax quarantine restrictions, organizations are gradually returning to work. For most offices, reopening starts with a phased re-entry. The return to work journey is all about making sure the right policies, layouts, and technology are in place to create a safe working environment and build employee confidence.

Although it’s a phased re-entry, most companies aren’t rushing or have a fixed timeline to complete phases and return to the workplace. This has never been done before, and therefore cautious testing and measurement are the mantra, as gradually more and more employees become comfortable with returning.

OFFICE CAPACITY (%) DURING PHASED OFFICE RETURN

  • Essential team members return to the office
  • Social distancing in place
  • Limited in-office meetings
  • All employees that can work from home should still do so
  • Pilot groups reintroduced in shifts
  • Majority workforce to work remotely
  • Social distancing in place
  • Limited in-office meetings
  • Return to the office based on personal preference
  • Mixture of in-office and remote work
  • Teams taking turns in and out of the office with shifts
  • Meeting rooms reopens
  • Everyone permitted to work in the office again
  • Hybrid model combining remote work and office time
  • “Work from anywhere” approach
  • Designated days for in-office meetings and collaboration

04. Touchless in Action

A day in the life of a touchless workplace

The reality of Covid-19, and any pandemic, is that many of the facilities, surfaces, and areas that employees interact with pose a health risk. As a consequence, workspace leaders face the challenge of more regular cleaning schedules and eliminating as many shared touchpoints in workspaces as possible.

Below we take a look at how the day-in-the-life of an employee has changed in the new normal when we put social distancing and touchless technology in place to reduce risk:

8:00am

Start the day by reserving a clean desk via the workplace app during the commute to work.

Locate the desk teammates have booked and reserve a desk near them.

8:30am

Use keyless door access to open the doors in the building using a phone.

8:31am

On the way to your desk, use wayfinding with turn-by-turn navigation to find the quickest and safest route to the reserved desk. 

8:33am

The wireless charging spot on the reserved desk flashes when you are nearby to help locate the exact desk for check-in.

Place the phone on the charging spot to check-in to the pre-booked desk and start working.

10:55am

A last-minute team meeting comes up, locate a clean meeting room with green light indicator, which has been cleaned and is safe to use.

11:00am

Once in the meeting room, check-in by placing the phone on a smart wireless charging spot and automatically launch a video conference.

Turn on the lights with sensor and adjust room temperature via the workplace app.

12:00pm

Place lunch order from the cafe via the workplace app and have it delivered to the meeting room.

2:30pm

After lunch, look for another clean desk to work for the rest of the day by looking for a green light indicator. 

2:30pm

Check-in to the clean desk by placing the phone on the smart wireless charging spot.

5:00pm

The phone is fully charged by topping up on power when using different spaces, and it’s time to go home.

05. THE SOLUTIONS

What are the options for touchless technology?

Creating a touchless workspace shouldn’t be a daunting task – use the day-in-the-life infographic above to help identify what technologies you can use to enhance the touchless experience when employees enter the office. Combining solutions like workplace apps, wireless charging, and sensors is an excellent way to decrease the amount of touchpoints while managing the reduced real estate footprint more efficiently.

To maximize the potential of touchless technology, evaluate the touchpoints in every space in the office, and adopt specific solutions to reduce shared touchpoints like screens, kiosks and iPads.

There are a number of different touchless technologies in the market, below are a round-up of some of the key ones to be considered:  

Keyless door access

What is it?

Keyless door access allows employees to enter the office without touching a keypad or handle and access can be enabled by motion sensors, bluetooth or even facial recognition. You can even authorize access to visitors via an app. 

Why should you consider this?

  • Going keyless minimizes the spread of bacteria with no physical touch required.
  • Hassle free access without the need for face-to-face registration or retrieving badges.
  • Secure, encrypted, all controlled via your personal devices.

Touchless Solutions

Indoor location services & wayfinding

What is it?

The last thing you want is for employees to have to waste time looking for the right workspace each day, especially in large office campuses. Wayfinding apps allow employees to quickly find space based on the type of work they need to do, or to choose a space near people they need to work with. They can also help direct one-way traffic patterns to avoid unnecessary interactions.

Why should you consider this?

  • Avoid unnecessary interactions or touching any shared screens
  • With flexible desking becoming a norm, wayfinding helps employees to navigate the office while saving time finding their way (or getting lost!)

Touchless Solutions

Touchless desk check-in

What is it?

Touchless desk check-in solutions give employees the ability to reserve or check-in to desks by placing phones on wireless charging spots. With Chargifi LightRing deployed across every desk, employees can see at a glance across the office which desks are available for them to use today, utilising the globally recognized traffic light system.

  Do Not Use Blocked for Cleaning

  In-Use Reserved Desk

  Clean and Available for Use

Why should you consider this?

  • Visual indications are highly-intuitive to understand, employees can find clean desks easily
  • Easier to manage desks by setting density rules with the ability to choose which desks are available to use
  • Monitor how desks are being reserved and occupied in real time to maximize desk availability

Touchless Solutions

Touchless meetings check-in

What is it?

Simply place a phone on a smart wireless charging spot to check into a meeting room by integrating with room booking software. This action simultaneously launches pre-booked video conference for a quick start to meetings. Valuable room usage and occupancy data can be captured to help free up unused meeting rooms and collaborative spaces, improving availability.

Why should you consider this?

  • No touching shared equipment in meeting rooms by shifting control to personal devices
  • Visual indications are highly-intuitive to understand, employees can find clean rooms easily
  • Usage data informs cleaning schedule to ensure meeting rooms are safe to use

Touchless Solutions

Sensors and voice recognition for meeting room control

What is it?

Sensors are used to detect the presence or motion of a person. In meeting rooms, touch-free motion sensors allow employees to control lighting, eliminating the need to touch light switches. Voice recognition can also be deployed to start the meeting to trigger smart experiences when connected to other cloud-based technologies, such as smart lighting and room temperature.

Why should you consider this?

  • No touching shared equipment in meeting rooms
  • Gives users the control to different meeting facilities without interacting with high-traffic touchpoints (dialing pads, light switches)

Touchless Solutions

Wireless charging

What is it?

A convenient and cable-free way to charge your devices. Wireless charging gives users touch-free charging experiences to charge up their mobile devices.

Why should you consider this?

  • Keeping desks and meeting rooms clutter free and easier to clean
  • Decrease inconvenience of trying to locate plug sockets and always carrying a cable

Touchless Solutions

06. Get started

How to go touchless?

While adopting the right technology to fit your needs is essential, it’s important to remember that any large scale routine change is hard, and all new work patterns need guidance and clear communication.

Providing periodic updates and visual signage as reminders during each phase of the return-to-work journey to notify employees of changes in office policy and procedures will prepare employees to adopt new safety measures and technology, and assure them that the right things are in place for their safety and wellbeing.

Over the next couple of years, companies will need to continually adapt to a changing environment that ebbs and flows as threats increase and decrease. This will mean continually assessing processes in the workplace to evaluate which technology solutions prove effective at managing social distancing and make employees feel safe working in the office.

Employee feedback will be crucial to make sure that new safety procedures support hygiene and cleanliness without compromising employee experience and engagement over the long term.

Get started with Chargifi

With personal devices and workplace apps at the heart of touchless workspaces, employees need convenient, easy access to wireless power more than ever before to ensure seamless experiences.

Chargifi not only provides a touch-free power source for employees, but also integrates with workplace apps so phones can be used to reserve and check-in to desks and meeting rooms whenever they need them. Employees will feel safe when they can see that the right controlled measures have been put in place. 

For instance, visual indicators and signage are highly-intuitive for employees to understand and use. An example of this is the Chargifi LightRing, which uses the internationally known traffic light sequence to show employees the status of the space they are looking to use. This kind of communication transcends language and culture so a great fit for multicultural organizations. Employees can find a safe place to work by simply locating a desk or space with a green light. 

Let us help you ensure a safe return to the workplace

Get in touch with our team here to learn more about how Chargifi can help you create a touchless workplace experience.

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