The Covid-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift to home working. Even those resistant to the change for years – employers and employees alike were forced to embrace this new normal. According to a report from Gartner, 41% of employees are likely to work remotely at least some of the time post-COVID-19, up from 30% before the virus took hold.
Though the office Monday to Friday culture is changed forever, the physical office isn’t dead yet - some workers have to work from an office permanently, whilst others are adopting more of a hybrid model, where they split time between home and office. So, whichever model an employee adopts, minimising exposure to Covid-19 in the office is a priority for all employers and IoT is helping facilitate a safer office environment.
Here are some examples of how IoT technology is helping keep offices safer whilst we await an effective covid-19 vaccine…
Heat detection cameras can be deployed which use thermal imaging to screen the temperature of people as they enter a building. This ensures temperatures can be taken but without risking the health of an operator.
Other employers have elected to provide all staff with wearable devices that track health stats including heart rate, body temperature and oxygen levels. Managed via an IoT platform this solution is useful for spotting potential Covid-19 carriers but can also be used to manage social distancing when integrated with other applications.
Intelligent UV disinfection
There are now intelligent UV disinfection solutions available that combine the disinfecting power of UV-C light with the connectivity of an automated IoT platform creating a robust and customisable sanitisation system.
Many access systems use biometrics to identify people. Coupled with an automatic door this can not only prevent unauthorised intruders but reduce the need for touch in a typically high-touch area.
Automation of high-touch fixtures and fittings
Once in a building automatic doors can prevent the spread of germs on doorknobs and handles, where covid-19 can survive for upwards of 24 hours.
Occupancy sensors & people counting
Occupancy sensors and people counting devices can be utilised to maintain and monitor appropriate occupancy and traffic levels. These devices can facilitate social distancing and prevent areas from becoming dangerously overcrowded.
CCTV for social distancing measurement
There is now software available that can be used to measure social distancing via CCTV. The software reports a worker’s location and highlights people whose distance is below the minimum required and then issues an alert.
Public Health considers poor ventilation a key factor in the spread of Covid-19. Air purification systems become even more powerful and customisable when they’re connected to an IoT platform. When implemented in tandem with occupancy and people counting sensors, IoT air purification systems create safer, more ventilated office environments.
Desk scheduling can also facilitate social distancing by preventing employees from using desks that are directly adjacent to a desk that is already in use. Scheduling also makes it easier to plan cleaning and sanitising.
With digital, customisable wayfinding, employees will be able to find the resources and spaces they need when they’re in the office via a safe route. Digital wayfinding can be used in conjunction with occupancy sensors to recommend routes which minimise clusters of people.
A mix of traditional approaches and technology
Traditional health and safety precautions like sneeze guards, 1m distancing, face masks and hand washing cannot be replaced in the workplace. They’re still absolutely necessary to public health. However, when these are combined with IoT technology solutions the result is increased employee peace of mind and the creation of a safer, healthier workplace environment.