Future-proof workplace technology guide
Everyone should feel safe and secure at work. In our new normal, this requires fundamental changes to the workplace as we know it. Structural and technological upgrades help boost confidence and peace of mind, enforce protocols, and track activity for a safer experience. In addition to requiring vaccines, survey responses show the safety features that would make people feel more comfortable returning to their workplaces are:
Touchless access control
Hand sanitizer stations
Increasing the number of hand sanitizer dispensers in the workplace is an easy (and important) win, but it’s not enough to keep people safe, or give them confidence in coming back to work. In order to really make a difference in the sentiment of returning to work, implementing strategies to reduce capacity and eliminating common touch points are essential. Luckily, there are tools that automate and enforce these new processes for efficient compliance with new guidelines.
Reducing occupancy in the workplace
According to the CDC and global health authorities, social distancing is an effective way to prevent spreading COVID-19, especially indoors. The more space between people, the better. Survey data shows many people would feel more comfortable returning to work if their employers and property owners reduced occupancy as part of their COVID-19 reopening protocol.
The simplest way to reduce office capacity is to reconfigure desks and common areas, putting more space between people throughout the building. Decals and dividers are budget-conscious and encourage social distancing. However, you can’t effectively enforce social distancing and there’s no way to manage or track occupancy levels without new technology.
Many companies are splitting up work hours into shifts of smaller teams so fewer people are scheduled to be in the office at the same time. With this strategy, being able to change schedules and manage user access credential privileges for your commercial door locks and access points instantly become must-have capabilities. Mobile access control like Openpath makes it easy to manage occupancy with shift schedules: simply assign users to groups, and authorize access for each group on different days and times as needed to keep capacity below the set threshold. Plus, with remote management capabilities, Openpath lets admins handle schedule changes and add or revoke user access from anywhere in the cloud.
However, even with the best-laid plans for reducing the total number of people in a given space, it can be difficult to ensure everyone follows the guidelines. Leveraging access control technology goes a long way in eliminating congestion and enforcing social distancing in your facility. Occupancy management systems are a solid investment for any workplace looking to safely reopen after COVID-19. They automate and enforce the capacity limits for your space, with less hands-on management required.
For example, Openpath’s access control system uses entry and exit readers to track the number of people entering a zone. The system denies additional unlock requests until capacity falls below the set threshold. Administrators also receive alerts and manage occupancy in real-time from the activity dashboard. If you want to invest in comprehensive COVID-19 workplace safety technology for the whole building, you can also integrate access control with people counters and capacity sensors. This data makes social distancing enforceable, and improves space management over time.
Touchless technology for the built environment
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the new normal, it’s that touching things is a new source of anxiety for many. Think about all the things you touch at work: door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, break room microwaves, and shared computers or desk supplies. When it comes to returning to work after COVID-19, eliminating as many common touch points as possible helps employees, tenants, and visitors feel safer. The best place to start with COVID-19 safety technology is at the front door. Go touchless with your entry system and security controls. Keycards and fobs, touch readers, PIN pads, and turnstiles are one more thing to wipe down throughout the day, and it’s nearly impossible to keep up the necessary maintenance. And yet, only 25% of business and commercial property owners in a recent Openpath survey said they have proactively implemented touchless technology in their offices and buildings.
Mobile credentials, which ranked #1 in terms of preferred access method in the same survey, solve this pain point by letting users enter and exit using their smartphone. With Openpath’s mobile-based access control system, you have the ability to go completely touchless thanks to Wave to Unlock capabilities activated by Bluetooth — the user doesn’t even need to take their phone out of their pocket or purse. Similar configurations are available for touchless turnstiles and touchless smart elevator systems. You can also integrate Openpath with Allegion door opener hardware for 100% contactless entry and exit.
Automating wellness verification procedures
In addition to social distancing, making sure people who come on-site are healthy in the first place is essential to safely returning to work during COVID-19. Openpath offers integrations with visitor and tenant management software to automate and enforce wellness procedures. Users have to fill out self health questionnaires or waivers as part of a daily check-in process required for authorized building entry. The integrations allow the entire process to be completely digital so it’s easy to manage remotely. Even for multi-location organizations, this reduces the burden on HR and administration teams.
Some organizations are also turning to temperature screenings to ensure workplace safety during reopening. With on-site thermal cameras integrated with access credentials, users can only unlock the door if they pass their temperature check. If you anticipate visitors to your building, wellness verification procedures can be added to the guest check-in flow, associating mobile guest pass credentials with a completed attestation form. Adding these symptom check processes to your office protocol gives employees and visitors peace of mind when returning to work.
Proactive building security management
In the Openpath survey, 45% of respondents said that security was the biggest challenge they faced when shutting down their offices for necessary safety precautions. With the cyclical nature of the pandemic, intermittent office closures are likely to continue. When nobody is present at the workplace, how can business owners ensure their facility is still secure and adhering to physical security measures? Businesses are also struggling with managing requests for temporary access for employees, maintenance staff, and deliveries. Those who are reducing capacity by making changes to work schedules are needing to constantly shift hours and enforce new schedules on the fly.
With a cloud-based platform such as Openpath, businesses are able to take a proactive approach to managing their building security via remote access. Enhanced COVID-19 safety features like remote unlock, door schedule changes, user credentialing, and video management can all be done anywhere, at any time. Plus, with real-time reporting and activity notifications, you’ll always know what’s happening at your building, without having to be on-site.
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