In pandemic conditions, the more space each of us has, and the more consciously we occupy it, the safer we’ll be.
Here too IoT technology can play a role. Smart indoor navigation and tracking applications have for some time now ensured that office workers can use their workspaces efficiently and in a maximally hassle-free manner. With easy-to-use apps on their phones, workers can identify which meeting rooms are conveniently empty or find their way to colleagues’ offices without taking wrong turns. They can use that same tech to locate open workspaces in offices without assigned seating and even to book space before they leave home. They can use it to find mask and sanitization stations.
So far, so good. But in the COVID-19 era, when finding a workspace in an uncrowded part of a building can be a matter of grave importance, such tech can also help keep people healthy. An employee who doesn’t get lost has fewer chance encounters with other people. A color-coded map on a smartphone that shows a staffer where the crowded parts of the office are isn’t only a convenience: it could be a lifesaver.
And thanks to data, different parts of an office can be subjected, in a most efficient way, to different disinfectant regimes depending on how heavily they are used. Data can inform safer office design, too. Stronger ventilation systems or extra windows can be built into those places where more people tend to congregate.
At the same time, the pandemic-driven work-from-home phenomenon will have a real, if as yet undetermined, effect on demand for office space. Even if the office isn’t “over,” as some have perhaps prematurely claimed, it stands to reason that office populations will to some extent shrink. Space management applications can give decision-makers a real sense of usage levels over time, replacing speculation with hard data to inform their long-term planning.
Incidentally, such IoT-powered mitigation efforts from employers will pay dividends in recruitment and retention. A company that puts smart solutions to work in safeguarding its workers’ health and well-being is probably a good one to work for in general.