Tech and Social Distancing – The Future of the Workplace Post Covid-19?

Across the globe, governments have been paring back national lockdown measures and reopening their economies as they begin to combat the socio-economic impact of Covid-19.

However, measures such as social distancing are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future at least, as governmental and health services across the board strive to create safe workplaces that can minimise the spread of coronavirus in the near and medium-term.

In this post, we’ll address these measures in further detail, while appraising their likely impact on the workplaces and offices of the future.

  • Social Distancing and Office Capacity

The precise guidelines pertaining to social distancing vary from one region to another, but it’s generally recommended that people should maintain a distance of at least one metre from those around them. 

This can be challenging in some workplaces, particularly those with departments that are heavily populated and require high levels of staffing at any given time (such as call centres). 

To negate this challenge, office managers need to understand both the layout of the space available and the typical occupancy rate of the building in question. In simple terms, the occupancy rate refers to the ratio of used space to the total amount of space which is available, and it’s important to calculate this accurately before formalising your post-Covid strategy and inviting employees back into the workplace.

This number also needs to be measured against the size of your workforce, so that you’re able to afford employees enough space in which they work safely and effectively in the current climate.

This may mean lowering your expectations with regards to optimal office occupancy in the near-term, as companies often strive to maximise this number with a view to making the most of the space on offer. Make no mistake; we should definitely expect office occupancy ratios to fall in the foreseeable future, particularly in smaller workplaces with minimal amounts of available square footage.

  • Controlling Office Occupancy Using Dedicated Hardware

Once you’ve determined the optimal level of office occupancy in the post-Covid climate, the next step is to ensure that social distancing measures are upheld and controlled as effectively as possible.

This not only means using signage and additional measures that prevents employees from congregating in communal areas, but you should also consider seeking out hardware that allows you to strike the ideal balance between promoting social distancing in the office and driving continued collaboration between staff members.

The hardware solution Iotspot ESD was launched in late March, and this allows office managers to visualise their workplace and the spaces that are available to employees in real-time. 

The hardware also introduces control by ensuring that an employee can only gain access to the building in question by booking an available space in advance, and to this end the technology can be integrated with existing security access programs to help automate the process.

This definitely helps to control the flow of traffic in and out of your office at any given time, while it also affords those who are in the workplace to collaborate in a safe and well-managed environment.

  • Changing the Infrastructure to Drive Remote Working

Clearly, remote working has become the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s likely that this will remain central to business operations in the coming months.

To this end, high-profile brands such as Twitter and Fujitsu have recently unveiled permanent work-from-home plans, and others are likely to follow suit in the near-term.

At the very least, businesses are expected to optimise the number of employees that they allow to work from home for the time being, while also utilising remote tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams that host meetings, stage live events and structure workplace projects. 

Beyond this, companies are also investing in the necessary infrastructure to support remote working on a larger and more permanent scale, with a clear emphasis being placed on security changes and key structural adjustments.

One prominent example would be the use of two or multi-factor authentication for employees logging in from a device at home, while the way in which information is distributed throughout a business must also be reviewed and updated.

These changes are undoubtedly impacting on offices across the globe, while creating new and arguably improved workplaces that could usher in a more permanent evolution.