Apr 24, 2020 in Viewpoint

3 essential steps to get back to the office safely

Office life has changed enormously over the past few weeks, employees all over the world had to adapt to working from home. And let’s be honest: we miss being at the office. Having face-to-face meetings, catching up with colleagues, and collaborating together. Although we can’t wait to get back, we must ensure a safe work environment. Office life, after all, will change. That’s why we’ve set up a guide to help you get back to the office safely. With a little help of smart technology, of course. No time to read right now? Download our guide.

Esmeé van Vliet
by Esmeé van Vliet
back to the office
We’ve set up a guide to help you get back to the office safely. With a little help of smart technology, of course.

Practicing the new normal

Returning to work can be excited, but also a bit scary for employees. At first, the office will probably be used for 50% or less. This means that only half of the employees will be there. Meetings will remain partly digital and cockpits will be even a more popular place to work. The biggest hurdle this period brings is finding workplaces within 1.5 meters from each other, keeping distance in the hallway, at lunch, and also maintaining clean desks. It will be a challenge to inform employees when they can come to the office, and when they are asked to work from home.

Transitioning back to the office

When the first period has been successful, and contamination hasn’t peaked again, more employees will be able to work together in the office. We begin to start working a bit more flexible again. This means sitting together with some specific colleagues for example. Imagine about 70% of the employees back at work. External meetings can slowly be held again, but only in spacious meeting rooms. Finding those specific colleagues easily and booking workplaces in advance is key to make sure no time is wasted.

Back and better than ever

Finally, we think the office will be used to the best of its ability again. It will be a place where employees meet, collaborate, and work together. Flexible or activity-based working will be the new normal again, although we will still all be a bit more conscious. Safe sharing is a theme for the upcoming years. But after working at home for such a long period, we expect employees to still do this regularly. So, making sure employees are more evenly spread over the working days and available space is essential.

How smart technology can help

When employees will slowly get back to the office again, finding a safe place to work in a multi-floor flex office will be a real challenge. The maximum office capacity, accepted social distance, and bookable desks for employees need to be included in every back-to-office strategy. Technology can be the biggest support to make sure everyone can safely return to work. But how? The following 3 steps will guide you through.

1. Get insights into your office capacity

Calculate your office capacity according to the 1.5-meter distance rule and monitor your building with an Analytics report for an occupancy overview.

Not everyone can get back to the office at the same time. Employees need to be given the right amount of space. Insights in your office capacity can serve as a tool to quickly gain insight into possibilities and limitations, so you can determine if the measures are sufficient. It can show what the capacity in desks per floor is, taking minimal distancing into account. You can also measure the maximum capacity of meeting rooms when a maximum number of occupants per square meter is calculated. If you know your office capacity, you can set-up a schedule for employees to return.

2. Make sure employees can keep their distance

Provide guidance and an overview of the floor occupancy to your employees.

Returning to the office does not necessarily mean that all employees can return to their favorite workplace. In a large office with multiple floors, you need to guide employees to pick a workplace. If you help them find a quiet floor to work, you can evenly spread them over the available space. A narrowcasting solution that uses occupancy data to visualize the crowdedness per floor can help. Mapiq’s Building Occupancy Display is our special COVID-variant, that specifically indicates how occupancy levels on the floor allow for the required social distancing rules.

3. Help employees book a (clean) desk.

Make sure employees can always choose a (clean) desk to work.

Providing clean desks is needed to ensure a safe work environment for employees. Creating visibility in those cleaned desks is essential. Workplace sensors can be configurated in a way that once a desk is used, the LED light will appear red. Once this desk is cleaned, the cleaner resets the workplace sensor to green again. But even more important is supporting employees in booking those clean desks in advance. Reserving a spot at the office will smoothen up the search for a workplace and ensure the accepted social distance.

*Disclaimer
At Mapiq, we are focused on delivering the smart technology offices need to get back in the building post-COVID-19. We’re still working on some of these features, but hopefully, they will be released soon. Follow us to stay tuned!

Back to the office with Mapiq

We are working hard to make sure that you can provide an office with the right tools and technical support. After all, the office is our favorite place to be. If you want to collaborate about your back to the office strategy, reach out to our smart office advisors. We’re always here to help.

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