Coronavirus has left no aspect of our lives untouched; undoubtedly, many of our habits and customs will have to change before society can resume partaking in regular activities again. With businesses and employees eager to start the economic recovery process, a strategic return to the workplace is necessary. An emphasis on improved hygiene and the ability to facilitate social distancing will be a huge deciding factor for employees who may feel a little unsettled about the prospect of returning to a busy office.
With the help of smart building technology and occupancy sensors, you can gain access to real-time data so that you can make better decisions for the management of your building under the new guidelines. Whether you're looking to consolidate space or enhance hygiene, occupancy IoT sensors could help you to mobilise and optimise the back-to-work process.
Keep your employees safe with occupancy IoT sensors
Employees returning to work will be hyper-aware of their surroundings. Suddenly things which may have been overlooked as unpleasant inconveniences may become intolerable. It's more important than ever to create a comfortable workplace environment where hygiene and safety are consistently prioritised.
Due to the nature of COVID-19, keeping a safe distance between employees is going to be crucial. High traffic areas will need to be monitored, and the footfall will have to be staggered to allow for social distancing. Washroom facilities will need regular sanitisation, and the number of entrants at a given time will have to be kept to a minimum.
With an occupancy sensor that is connected to your IoT network, you can optimise your workspace in an employee-centric way. The sensors can collect data about incoming and outgoing traffic and alert individuals when an area has reached capacity.
Discreet bathroom occupancy sensors will help cleaning and maintenance staff to make data-based decisions on the frequency of cleaning required.
Your occupancy sensor will also feed information back to your HVAC control system so that air purification can be maintained – particularly during peak times.
Occupancy limits in meeting rooms
A very relevant conversation topic at the moment is: Will we ever have in-person meetings again?
Collaboration and discussion are essential business activities. According to studies, face-to-face interactions are 34 times more successful than emails. Although virtual experiences have been a saving grace for many companies during this period of self-isolation, the necessity for face-to-face human interaction will not suddenly disappear.
With this in mind, businesses need to think about how they can facilitate meetings in the workplace again, as well as how to make these events safe and convenient for workers.
Industry insiders foresee a more simplistic take on face-to-face meetings of the future. While cake and biscuits may not be making the rounds, there will be a greater sense of purpose and efficiency for in-person gatherings. In order to make this happen, companies can use occupancy sensors to set and monitor maximum capacity for meeting rooms. When rooms become vacant, maintenance staff can be alerted so that they can disinfect and prepare the place for the next set of users. A minimalist approach to furniture and enough space between occupants will be critical in preventing the spread of germs. The new focus will be on creating valuable interactions between employees and clients in a safe, well-ventilated space. An IoT connected occupancy sensor can automate the process of maintaining meeting spaces, controlling light and room temperature and giving users insight into availability.
There will undoubtedly be a host of new regulations surrounding the layout of workstations and the frequency with which they are cleaned.
Surfaces and shared technologies such as telephones and keyboards will need to be disinfected after each use if you operate a hot-desking model.
Your occupancy sensor can immediately alert cleaning staff when a workstation becomes vacant and help to ensure that it is properly sanitised before the next user accesses the space.
Once you've spaced out workstations in accordance with social distancing measures, the occupancy sensor can flag any congestion issues or other bottlenecks that may arise as a result of the new layout. This means you can take proactive measures to control movement around the office and guide employees to the best-suited workstation for their needs.
Occupancy IoT sensors can help keep collaborative areas safe
Just like the use of your meeting rooms will require careful preparation, so too will reception areas, elevators and other collaborative workspaces like break out spots or canteens.
Knowing how many occupants are in your building will become essential data to help your facilities team keep on top of frequently touched surfaces like in waiting room areas.
Research suggests that, until there is a vaccine or cure for COVID-19, we will have to accept the disease as part of our daily lives. Heavy-handed infrastructural changes to real estate may only end up being costly and unnecessary. Instead, the focus will be on density control.
For example, rather than trying to fit as many people as possible into a workspace, companies will have to maximise the space between workers and perhaps rotate between a remote and in-office working model to facilitate a safer shared environment. Clients and visitors will be led to low-traffic areas that don't require deeper entry into the building and maximum occupancy rules will have to be adhered to by all.
Your occupancy sensors will give users an immediate overview of how your building is being utilised at any given time, and integration with other smart building technology will allow them to book rooms, schedule cleaning and set up air temperature prior to visiting the location.
The data provided by occupancy sensors will vastly improve the efficiency of buildings to ensure that they remain safe and welcoming places for employees. Human interaction remains a vital part of how we live and work; by managing occupancy and using the available technology we have at hand to create smart buildings, business can continue to operate without compromising its biggest asset: people.
If you'd like to discover more about how occupancy sensors can help you formulate the best solution for getting employees back to the office, take a look here.