As England’s second national lockdown ends, many workers who are unable to work from home are heading back into their workplace.
It’s good news for businesses - but it also re-establishes a significant challenge: how can employers keep their teams safe and comfortable during a pandemic?
Sharing an indoor space with others - even with social distancing measures in place - poses a risk of infection.
And, if and when an employee or visitor shows symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, speedy action must be taken to trace their contacts to stop the spread.
Although the NHS Track and Trace system is up and running, many businesses are going above and beyond for their employees. One method includes utilising an Aruba Central WiFi network to carry out their own contact tracing and safety measures.
So how does Aruba Central contact tracing work?
Real Time Monitoring
Using a combination of strategically placed WiFi access points, bluetooth tags and WiFi-enabled devices, it is now possible to track in real-time how employees move through the workplace.
This enables businesses to easily create density maps to understand if office layouts are working optimally and if there are risky traffic patterns emerging.
The same tech can be used to live monitor occupancy levels and whether those inside a workplace are effectively social distancing.
Businesses can see at a glance an analysis of location data from within their workplace. This can be used to better understand the movement of employees and to be able to quickly and easily spot potential issues, before they become a problem.
It’s also possible for heatmaps to be created, showing hotspots for congregation among employees or customers - and therefore identifying areas that may need additional cleaning or monitoring.
Alerts and Updates
Businesses can help their employees stay informed by sending alerts about busy areas within a workplace, or when occupancy crosses a certain threshold.
It’s also possible to use WiFi to send regular updates to employees or customers about company Covid policies and important changes they need to be aware of, as the situation continues to change rapidly.
Should an employee, or a customer who has visited the workplace, test positive for Covid-19, it is now easy for businesses to work out who needs to be traced and informed by sorting data according to the number of minutes spent in close proximity to the infected person.
A network-based approach that uses both proximity and location telemetry combined with advanced AI capabilities ensures pinpoint accuracy. That means the exact location of any interactions can be traced, along with the people that intersected at that location.
Automated Occupancy Management
For businesses with people frequently entering and leaving the building, automated occupancy management can be set up. Live occupancy counts make it easy to display (using a simple traffic light system) when it is safe to enter communal spaces.
What are the benefits?
Using WiFi combined with the very latest advances in technology to carry out contact tracing makes good business sense. Here are a few reasons why:
It Avoids Congestion
Gathering in certain areas is a key risk factor when it comes to spreading the virus. With a clever combination of tech, congestion can be prevented, helping keep everyone safe.
It Enables Staggered Work Times
By analysing the live occupancy of a workplace, it becomes easier to identify patterns and allow employees to successfully stagger the times they enter and leave work.
It Aids Successful Social Distancing
Everyone knows that social distancing is an essential part of keeping the virus at bay, but in an indoor environment it can be easy to unintentionally get within a two metre radius of someone else. By setting up a contact tracing system, businesses can see whether social distancing is being successful and take appropriate steps if it isn’t.
It Enables Targeted Cleaning
Every business has increased its cleaning in the light of the pandemic. The difference this new technology can bring is the ability to pinpoint busy areas on any given day so that they can be flagged up for more intensive and frequent cleaning.
It Helps Staff Feel Safe
Understandably, many employees feel nervous or worried about coming back into the workplace. Many businesses want to do all they can to reassure staff and to keep them safe - and by using their WiFi as part of their own contact tracing strategy, they can do exactly that.
Generates Team Member Productivity
Bonus aspects of the technology - such as live occupancy rates - frees up staff from the time consuming and tedious role of manually counting the number of people entering and leaving a building.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Investing in WiFi enabled contact tracing and safety measures is essential for businesses that want to maximise safety and minimise risk within the workplace as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out.
With support from experts in the field, businesses can achieve the built-in network intelligence required to keep their employees and customers safe.
Contact tracing (with pinpoint accuracy) along with density mapping, real time dashboard insights and alert systems are now available - and they have the potential to transform the way businesses operate during the pandemic and beyond.
Want help using your WiFi to carry our contact tracing in the workplace?
ITEC is one of the leading Aruba Central Managed Service Providers in the country, and we are using the service to help companies like yours minimise disruption from the pandemic and keep employees safe with WiFi-enabled contact tracing.