With offices around the world gearing up to reopen, workplace leaders are searching for solutions to help keep their employees and their spaces safe. COVID-19 has changed the game. Workplace leaders must think beyond safeguarding their building security and intellectual property (IP). Now, they need to focus on protecting their employee’s health, meeting social distancing regulations, and stopping the spread of germs in their space.Doing this on your own might seem impossible. Luckily, there are tools that can help you manage these unprecedented challenges. Technology can automate repetitive tasks, decrease human error, and give your team space to focus on the work that matters most. Here are 10 types of tools you need to keep your workplace safe during COVID-19.
1. Employee registration & wellness checks
The first step in welcoming employees back to the office is to get an accurate picture of who is coming in each day. You can use an employee registration tool to manage each step of inviting employees back to work, approving their entry, and ensuring the right people come on-site each day. You’ll want a solution that allows you to send a customizable questionnaire to employees. This is an important way to ensure that no one is sick before they come in. The CDC recommends asking anyone who plans to come to your office if they have a fever or any symptoms consistent with COVID. You may want to ask other questions to help you determine if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. For example:
- Have you traveled out of state recently?
- Have you been in close contact with anyone who has COVID in the past 14 days?
This is sensitive and personal information, so you’ll want to take care of your employee’s data. Maintain your employees’ trust by keeping their information private. You'll also want to be transparent about how long you store their data and who can access it.
2. Capacity management
With new social distancing guidelines in place, you’ll need to carefully manage how many employees are entering your space each day. Use a capacity management tool to help prevent overcrowding in your office that might put your team at risk of exposure. Look for a tool that allows you to set a capacity limit for how many people can be in your workplace at any time. Once you meet capacity, the tool should prevent anyone else from being able to sign-in. By empowering your workplace team with automatic capacity alerts and accurate occupancy data, you can more easily manage your reopening and help to keep your entire team healthy.
3. Hot desking
If your office uses an open floor plan, chances are your old setup isn’t going to work anymore. Not when your team needs to maintain at least six feet of distance between their desks. A key way to enforce social distancing at your office will be to use a desk booking tool. If your employees are coming back in shifts or on staggered days, you’ll want to allow them to book a desk in advance. Your team can designate which desks are available, ensuring that only desks that are six feet away from one another are free to reserve. This also gives your team accurate data to organize deep cleans of spaces that were recently occupied.
4. Contact tracing
Welcoming people back into the office during COVID-19 comes with its risks. Even if you screen employees, manage how many people can come in each day, and set up your office so employees sit six feet apart, an employee could still bring their illness to work. If an employee becomes sick, you need to be able to act fast to make sure others stay healthy. Anyone who came into contact with someone who is sick is at an increased risk of becoming infected. Many workplaces are implementing contact tracing tools to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help employees get care sooner. These tools help you to:
- Identify who the infected person was in the office with that day
- Notify anyone who may have been exposed
- Protect the privacy of everyone involved
- Provide critical information to prevent further transmission
5. Visitor management
Reopening your offices doesn’t only include your employees, you might also be opening your doors to visitors as well. Whether you're welcoming interview candidates, vendors, contractors, or clients, you’ll want a visitor management system in place to help you keep everyone in your space safe.With a visitor management system (VMS), you can collect essential information from visitors—similar to your employee health screening—before they come onsite. You can also share important arrival information from your end to make their arrival frictionless.Once your guest checks-in, the VMS should automatically print their visitor badge and let their host know they have arrived. You can even opt to send notifications to employees’ mobile phones via SMS or a tool like Slack. That way, they’ll get the message even if they aren’t at their desk.
6. Touchless sign-in
Another risk factor for everyone in the workplace is someone getting sick from touching shared surfaces. To help with your part in stopping the spread, you’ll want your employees and your visitors to be able to sign-in to the office without touching anything. Look for an employee registration and visitor management solution that offers a touchless sign-in process. This could be by QR code, mobile app, or even by manually signing in guests at the front desk. Then go the extra mile and make sure that the entire arrival process is completely touch-free.
7. Temperature scanning
Screening employees and guests before they arrive on-site is important, but you can take your security one step further by requiring that everyone who comes through your front door get their temperature read. Temperature or thermal body scanning tools allow you to easily read the temperature of anyone coming onsite. This allows you to prevent the spread of germs with no-contact fever detection and helps you make sure that everyone who comes on-site is healthy.Temperature detection companies like Flir and Athena can easily integrate with your employee and visitor management system, so you can tie the scanning process into sign-in.
8. Access control
You’ll also want an employee and visitor management tool that is closely integrated with your access control solution. Rather than giving people unlimited access to the office, you’ll want to make sure that only those who have been approved to come in are able to enter the building. By integrating with an access control system like Openpath, Kisi, S2, or Genetec, you can give building access to employees and visitors who have successfully registered, completed a wellness check, and have been approved to come onsite. This helps make sure that only healthy, approved individuals are allowed into your space to give you even more control over capacity and reduce the spread of germs.
9. Emergency notifications
Whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic or a different crisis, communication is absolutely key to ensuring the safety of your team. You’ll want to invest in an emergency notification system to help notify anyone who is onsite during a crisis. Tools like Everbridge and Send Word Now integrate with your employee and visitor management solutions so that you can quickly get a message to anyone who has checked in that day.
10. Workplace platform
It can be overwhelming to manage so many critical health and safety tools. Not to mention, that’s a lot of work to research, vet, purchase, and implement each tool. That’s why you’ll want a workplace platform that can take care of everything under one roof. With Envoy, you get a complete, connected solution to manage all of your employee and visitor management needs. Envoy Protect gives you the tools you need to manage employee registration, perform wellness checks, and set and enforce capacity limits. Envoy Visitors helps you welcome guests back to your office safely. Plus, Envoy connects with the tools that you need most like access control, temperature scanners, and emergency notification systems.