First, businesses had to enable remote working at a rapid pace and get their teams working from home. At barely a moment’s notice, schools, law firms and other professional services had to develop ways to function without a fixed point of work.
But, now the shops are open and wheels of the economy are (slowly) turning as people across the UK go back to work.
Staff returning to their desks offers up new challenges and uncertainties. How does a quarter of the UK workforce start working again? How do people lucky enough to work from home, go back to work in an office? How can an office function and maintain social distancing? How do we keep workers safe?
At ITEC, we believe the answer to getting us back to work, is the same as what got us out of work: technology.
Technology is vital to the return of UK workers, and for employees to feel confident and safe in their offices.
So what type of technology can you leverage to make sure your employees feel confident and safe at the office?
Technology That Gets Your Team Back to Work
The UK government is emphasising the importance of track & trace in keeping the economy open and with helping people live with COVID-19. You can leverage your wireless infrastructure to deliver contact tracing within your own office. This will keep your staff members reassured they’re safe.
But, why use your WiFi? Well, your access points (APs) contain data on how people use your brick & mortar premises. You can gain insights and identify patterns as to how your teammates move around the office with Aruba WiFi. You can identify crowded areas and put social distancing measures in place. If there is a bottleneck near the elevator or kitchen, you’ll know if you have to introduce staggered start or lunch times.
If someone starts showing COVID-19 symptoms, you can identify and alert people who have worked closely through the location of their devices. This way, you can lock down a department or floor instead of the entire office and test the right people.
Apps and APs
Now, you’re probably wondering about specifics: how can you leverage your WiFi to get people back to work? Well, it depends on your use cases, business needs, timings and budget.
The quickest approach involves pooling data from your wireless LAN. Your APs pick up data as people move around your premises with an Aruba app on their WiFi-connected device in their pocket. This data is stored in analytic software like Aruba AirWave or Aruba Central. The system’s AI then filters and analyses the information to determine how devices, and by extension people, move around the office, where they go and how long they stay.
As this data on WiFi telemetry is available 24-hours after its collected. You can quickly contact the right teammates and identify areas for disinfection moments after symptoms are discovered.
However, the location services on Apple iOS and Google Android put user privacy first. The data will not collect if the app is running in the background or closed down.
A way around this is to use a BLE tag. A small BLE tag can be placed on a team member’s name tag or carried in their pocket. As long as your APs support bluetooth, you’ll be able to pick up personalised data on each employee while they use your office. You can then contact anyone they came into close contact with during their working day.
Skyfii Occupancy Now
If you have a specific use case, ITEC might have to pair your wireless infrastructure with dedicated analytic software so you can obtain deeper insight. Skyfii has recently launched Occupancy Now -- an automated occupancy and social distancing management tool kit.
The software gives real-time feedback, enabling you to count and review occupancy every minute in each location. You can verify social distancing measures are being maintained and track if cleaning routes are being followed. The quick feedback also lets your office evolve alongside government COVID-19 regulations.
Occupancy Now also enables you to send updates to your staff, keeping them informed of your COVID countermeasures and bolstering your contact tracing operations. Your workers will feel secure when they come back to work knowing you can accurately maintain & adapt social distancing measures and ensure their safety.
Your office is prepared for social distancing and has the analytics to keep your staff safe as they come back to work. But, how are you going to stop potential surface transmission? Teammates will have to use common surfaces at some point, and one of the most frequently used office technologies is the humble printer.
Staff members will use a touchscreen on their nearest multi-function device (MFD) if they want something printed, scanned or photocopied.
AI Voice Assistants
One way to prevent any accidental spread when people come back to work is to link your MFD up to a virtual assistant. The Xerox Altalink can be paired with Gabi Voice, an AI-driven voice recognition software. Your staff can now use voice commands to change the settings and mode on their Xerox printer -- reducing the number of touch points in your office.
Gabi leverages the power of IBM’s Watson and is built with enterprise-security and data privacy in mind. Gabi only listens when her name is called. Commands are encrypted and routed through a cloud-based identity and access controls.
The Xerox Altalink also works with Alexa.
If you’re getting ready to welcome your staff back to work, please get in touch with ITEC to develop a bespoke back to work solution...