What is the new normal? One of the biggest challenges facing businesses today is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
Opening and keeping businesses going while minimizing the risk to employees has meant that most companies have adopted new ways of working, often leading their offices, factories, retail stores and other facilities more or less empty.Management teams need to navigate their companies through this disruption, including how and when the complex task of returning to the workplace commences and how it is managed once government restrictions are lifted. A safe workplace for employees is paramount for all businesses, as is a safe environment for customers and visitors alike.
Across the world while restrictions are relaxing, guidelines related to social distancing and crowd limits are emerging. The definition of a safe workplace can vary, however it most certainly will include the ability to immediately measure the density of people in any part of a workplace and the ability to estimate the amount of time any two people have been in proximity to one another during the day.
Many countries are imposing regulations to assist with opening business and society again. Singapore requires a minimum of 16 (172 feet) square metres of usable space per person in any indoor venue, many European countries have adopted a 2 metre (6 feet) buffer as part of their social distancing guidelines. Naturally, each business wishes to abide by these public health guidelines, however doing so creates its own challenges. All types of business premises, from factories to offices to retail and hospitality, need to ensure they are complying with the regulations.
Various technology solutions are emerging to help businesses and society reopen safely. In some cases, apps on mobile phones are being promoted, and in other cases, camera technology and facial recognition are suggested, while in other instances, various premises are restricting access with physical barriers and access cards, all with varying degrees of complexity, cost and success.
Having a solution that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively will be vital for businesses to get up and running again. Utilizing existing business infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi, as much as possible is your fastest route to getting back to business and offers rapid time-to-deployment of just days or hours in some cases while also minimizing privacy concerns.
It is important to consider how to:
- Get data related to capacity and social distancing to make operational decisions in the workplace, in real time where possible
- Show compliance historically, in as much granularity as necessary – and hour by hour, if required
- Remain operational should one or more employees test positive for COVID-19, while ensuring the wider workforce’s health by contact tracing to identify those at risk
- Manage security and privacy
Above all, society will overcome the threat that COVID-19 poses, but it will require utilizing a combination of technology and guidelines to ensure businesses can avoid resurgence. Businesses that are quick to adopt and embrace this approach stand a greater chance at keeping their workforce safe and productive.
About the Author:
President of Digital Strategy, Taoglas
Prior to joining Taoglas, Brendan was the CEO and Founder of ThinkSmarter Analytics. He has more than 20 years of experience in strategic digital technologies, leading software businesses and has founded and led 3 startups to acquisition. He has also held senior