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
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
Said touchless fixtures would make them feel comfortable returning to the office
Want to see their office layout reconfigured for safe distancing
Would like to see a reduced number of shared workspaces
Want assurances about how the workplace facilities will be cleaned and disinfected
02. The Opportunity
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
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
04. Touchless in Action
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:
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.
Use keyless door access to open the doors in the building using a phone.
On the way to your desk, use wayfinding with turn-by-turn navigation to find the quickest and safest route to the reserved desk.
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.
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.
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.
Place lunch order from the cafe via the workplace app and have it delivered to the meeting room.
After lunch, look for another clean desk to work for the rest of the day by looking for a green light indicator.
Check-in to the clean desk by placing the phone on the smart wireless charging spot.
The phone is fully charged by topping up on power when using different spaces, and it’s time to go home.
05. THE SOLUTIONS
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:
06. Get started
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.
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.
Get in touch with our team here to learn more about how Chargifi can help you create a touchless workplace experience.Contact us
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