Technology helps with return to the office

2.6.2020

The return of employees to large office parks has been very slow so far. Most employees still work from their home offices, a smaller part experience the first days in the workplace. Technology often helps them to comply with new rules, which include, in particular, social distancing.

Home office until the end of the year will be no exception

“Keeping safe social distancing for companies means that they often can’t occupy offices as they are used to. Employees must be seated according to the new key and can’t meet in groups in common areas, such as elevators, kitchens or relaxation zones. However, this means that as long as the rule of social distancing applies, at least some employees will always have to work from home. Depending on the epidemiological development, this situation may last until the end of this year, “

says Jonathan Appleton, director of ABSL, an association, which brings together companies from the business services sector in the Czech Republic. It is these companies that are a typical example of tenants of large office parks. On average, they employ about 400 people, but the centers can be even four times larger. First experience and calculations show that in most offices, only 40% of the space will be usable after the introduction of the new rules. This is one of the reasons why companies allowed only a small percentage of employees to return in the first phase, in the vast majority of cases it was 15 or 30%.

Space calculator and online booking

Technology can also help companies with the design of new desk layouts or the use of offices so that the maximum possible and safe capacity is not exceeded. For example, Colliers came up with an online calculator that easily calculates the number of usable desks in an office space. In addition to the organization of the offices themselves, companies also need to manage and monitor the number of employees and their movement on the company’s premises. In addition to adhering to the prescribed safety social distance, this has another important reason, namely the ability to easily detect when and with whom an employee was in contact in the event that a coronavirus infection resumes. A similar tool, for example, was developed by AB InBev itself.

“At the AB InBev center in Prague, we focus on the development and use of new technologies in our processes. The need for social distance in office space inspired us to develop our own application that would allow our employees to reserve their seats in the office. This easy-to-use application will provide our employees with the necessary flexibility and at the same time guarantee the right distances in accordance with government regulations, “

says Jaromír Staroba, director of this business services center of a company engaged in the production and sale of beer and a wide range of soft drinks. The application allows you to reserve a place only for a specified number of employees. Therefore, it cannot happen that more employees appear in the offices than the newly set capacity allows.

Temperature monitoring and contactless control of elevators or lighting

Companies are also working on how to identify employees who have contracted the disease and how to prevent the spread of the disease. When entering the office, therefore, they introduce temperature measurement of their people, often automated – just go through the frame. “Tools for contactless control of elevators, coffee machines or lighting or even voice control of meeting room equipment are also under consideration. It may sound a bit like science fiction, but we expect it to be the new reality of office parks soon, ”says Jonathan Appleton, adding:

“Recent months have shown that our sector is able to operate and perform smoothly in emergency situations thanks to massive digitization. The longer-lasting need to work from home or even to set this model as a “new normal” will not endanger our industry in any way. On the contrary, the crisis has stimulated people’s extraordinary creativity and taken a number of processes to a higher level. ”

In particular, the care of employees and support of their activities got a new dimension. In addition to various sports, relaxation or educational activities, companies also implemented  for example an online program for children or foreign language news for employees foreigners.

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