Posted on 9th of June, 2020

The future of workplaces in the aftermath of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the globe with no apparent end in sight, many stakeholders are beginning to wonder about the lasting influence it might have on our social and professional behaviour. During these past few months, firms have had to re-adjust their daily practices and adapt to strict rules set in place to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. After investing time and resources to implement these changes, it is perhaps not surprising that some operators are re-evaluating some of their pre-Coronavirus business practices.

The effect of remote working policies

One example of corporations adapting to COVID-19 measures is the implementation of remote working policies. The pandemic has forced corporations to invest in virtual solutions such as communication platforms and video conference programs, and to digitize their operations to follow social distancing regulations. As time goes by, supervisors have started to notice that many of their employees are enjoying working from home and are equally, if not more, productive than when they’re at the office. This has led many businesses to rethink their need for large office spaces.

A couple of decades ago, corporations competed to get the grandest office space at the best location, while the rent of these places depleted a large chunk of the company’s resources. Now, many are wondering whether they could make do with a significantly smaller space, to accommodate those who prefer working at the office, and to provide space for collaborations, client visits, and meetings. Some are even wondering if they require a separate office space at all, or whether they might move towards using coworking spaces instead.

For those corporations that will need to continue their work from the office, they will need to implement permanent upgrades to fulfil increased hygienic requirements. Reducing human contact and the cleaning and disinfecting of shared spaces are all important tactics that are already being used in most public places. A less used, but equally important tactic is contact tracing, or the monitoring of people in places, by requiring people to “check-in” when they enter a certain space.

“While we celebrate the opening up of many economies and people going back to work, monitoring in any effective form is crucial to solidify the successes achieved and also to ensure eagle-eye focus on preventing another wave of spread. Information is king and effective monitoring gives you that information.” - Bryan Leong, BU Manager at SALTO Systems Asia

Gathering information to inhibit the spread

Contact tracing has two distinct advantages for inhibiting the spread of the Coronavirus. The first is easily regulating how many people are in a certain space at a certain time, as administrators are required to limit the number of people to follow social distancing regulations. The second advantage is knowing who is in a certain space. If a person gets infected with the Coronavirus, administrators can see who was in the room with the infected person, and instruct them to self-quarantine. This reduces the chances of those people passing the disease on to others.

An example of this is a new COVID-19 requirement executed in Singapore. Public establishments such as workplaces, schools, hotels, and other service providers, are required to install a check-in system called SafeEntry. SafeEntry is a cloud-based system designed for the purpose of contact tracing, and provides both of the benefits described above. Contact tracing, together with other measures like testing and social distancing, is an effective way to control the spread of the Coronavirus. It is especially important now that countries have slowly started to open up again and there is a risk of a second wave of the disease.

Smart access control in the “new normal”

SALTO KS offers smart solutions to many of the administrative problems accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to SafeEntry, event reporting permits administrators to monitor the number of people per square meter in a space, controlling the flow of people and restricting access when the limit is reached. Event reporting also allows administrators to contact people who might have been in the same room as an infected person. Selecting specific time frames for users offers supervisors the possibility of creating staggered work schedules, contributing to the safety of the employees.

Either with or without API integrations, SALTO KS offers automatic check-ins and Digital Key Tech, eliminating the need for mechanical keys and front desks. Through their SALTO KS app, building managers, hospitality operators, and site administrators can send their guests a Digital Key, or use the remote opening functionality to let people in. By selecting a specific time frame for a user, or simply blocking their access after they’ve completed their stay, administrators can automate the checkout process, restricting unnecessary human interactions.

Despite using the Digital Key, there are still surface areas administrators need to be mindful about. Research has shown that the Coronavirus can live on surfaces up to two or three days. Having strict disinfecting schedules in place, and providing guests with hand sanitizers is essential to inhibit the spread of the virus once workplaces start opening up again. By using the BioCote antimicrobial technology, the SALTO locks reduce a broad spectrum of microbes by up to 99.9%. Combining this technology with standard hygienic practices significantly reduces the risk of contamination.

The COVID-19 pandemic will be eradicated one day, but in some ways, its effects will remain in the world. With the help of smart technology and innovative solutions, companies can successfully adapt to the new normal.

“Work-From-Home is the new normal in many economies. A robust personal hygiene regime is the new normal. Safe distancing is the new normal. New normal is here to stay.” - Bryan Leong, BU Manager at SALTO Systems Asia

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SALTO KS provides a flexible access control management system that requires no software installation or the added expense of a fully-wired electronic product. Modern cloud-based, wireless access control systems are easy and simple to use for businesses including Coworking Spaces, Coliving Buildings, Purpose Built Student Accommodation, Retail, Multi-Tenant Housing, Gyms and many more. Our best in class wireless access control solution and smart locks guarantee the efficiency for your business. Integrate smart locks, start easily managing wireless access control now!

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