Thanks to our friends at Kisi for the guest appearance!
Kisi is a cloud-based access control system that allows office spaces to connect their doors, elevators, and more to their office management and security systems. Built for first-time users to experts, Kisi is a best-in-class system trusted by the most modern organizations.
When I step back in the office, will it feel like it did before COVID hit? How will it be different?
Ridding an office of uncertainty has always been one of the key responsibilities for workplace teams. "Where do I sit?", "How do I get in this part of the office?" "How does this technology work?", and so on. When it comes to transitioning employees back into the office, fighting uncertainty takes on a whole new meaning.
While all the focus on office safety regarding COVID currently seems to be on cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting workspaces, that can’t be the only focus. Why not? The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to employers just how important it is to take care of their employees. In fact, 64% of HR leaders are making employee experience a higher priority for the return to work.
While people are excited to get back into the office, and tired of working from home and feeling disconnected from their coworkers, they know that safety for themselves and their families needs to come first. Beyond simple health and safety being a priority, employers are looking for ways to keep employees comfortable in a new, COVID-safe office environment.
Navigating the “new normal”
Being surrounded by plastic barriers, unable to talk to coworkers casually throughout the day, and having restrictions on office kitchen use is definitely not going to raise employee spirits even if it is considered a safe office setup for COVID-19 prevention. How companies design their COVID-safe offices may even become a selling point in the hiring process, as employees look for comfort and safety, not one or the other.
Building a seamless experience in the post-COVID office
One of the best ways to build trust among employees in our new world is to make the transition back to the office a seamless experience. No one wants to spend the day sidetracked by all of the COVID precautions surrounding them.
Instead, workplace teams should think about providing their people with resources that feel comfortable, not clinical. Things like tall plant dividers between desks, a hybrid schedule where employees work from home and the office on different days of the week, or staggered arrival times.
On days employees do come into the office, their schedules will be filled with team meetings and communication-based activities rather than desk-based work that can be accomplished at home; a positive workplace environment is essential. One of the key players in creating a comfortable workspace for your people is contactless technology.
From stepping into the office to navigating around the space, the less wandering and wondering (and potentially spreading germs) the better. We'll dive into touchless tools that have surged in popularity as workplace teams aim to smoothly transition their people back into the office.
Touchless technology for a better employee experience
Investing in contactless systems throughout the office is one of the easiest ways to welcome employees back safely. Status boards with real-time updates about which desks and meeting rooms are available are so valuable, especially because having fewer workers in the office on a day-to-day basis could eliminate the need for designated desk space for every employee.
Instead, employees can book flexible seats right from their mobile phones when they’re planning on coming in. When they come into the office, they can quickly double-check their reservation with a glance of an office map status board and head over to their desk for the day. It’s all about reducing as much friction as possible so people feel confident stepping back into the office.
Remote-use technology, like printers and projectors, will also become more popular. For tools that can't be accessed remotely, some companies may choose to issue individual stylus pens to employees for use on any shared screens, like tablets used to book conference rooms, throughout the building. Remote-based building access systems and voice-command technology will likely become a must in any office environment.
Contactless access control
When it comes to contactless entry systems, COVID-19 has brought on a need for more than just waving a key card that unlocks a door. For example, with social distancing guidelines, office spaces are filling to capacity faster than ever. For an office manager or landlord of a shared workspace or meeting space, this can feel nearly impossible to control remotely.
Employers may choose to control access not only by scheduling employees to only come in on certain days but possibly even locking access to the office for anyone not scheduled to be there. Automated access systems like Safe Workspace by Kisi allow employers to control the capacity of a space as well as what time access is granted to each member of an organization, ensuring health and safety for all workers at all times.
This sort of access control is also a helpful replacement instead of hiring someone to track the number of employees entering and exiting your workplace, as many offices have found necessary in order to follow COVID safety precautions. This also means employees won't need to check in with a security guard upon entering the office. This eliminates unnecessary points of contact, making an office space not only safer but also more efficient and easier to navigate.
Wellness checks and health surveys
Integrative access systems can also ease the additional worry employees have about coming in contact with a sick coworker, giving them a greater ability to focus on their work any time they’re in the office.
In a post-COVID world, it has become even more apparent how easily a virus can travel in a shared space. From doctor’s offices to boutiques, people everywhere have become used to a welcome that includes a series of questions on how they’re feeling that day, a temperature check, and a request to use hand sanitizer before entering. Employees should expect their greeting at the office with a similar set of steps.
For office spaces that have chosen to use contactless access systems like Kisi, this can all be done through technology. Surveys can automatically pop up when an employee requests access to a space, asking if they’ve experienced any symptoms in the past week.
Employers may even choose to integrate their access control systems with face-scanning and temperature scanning technology, as the learning company Docebo chose to do, to add another layer of protection for employees. This sort of addition to access control is even more important in shared office or meeting spaces rented out by different groups throughout the week.
While contactless technology used to be seen as a luxury in offices, COVID-19 has turned it into more of a must-have in every workplace. To keep employees safe and confident at work, minimizing common touchpoints areas where viruses can linger will be of utmost importance as employers decide where in the workplace these technology upgrades are most needed.
While the future of the office might mean a number of changes from what we have always considered normal office life, employees will be happier to return to their workspace and comply with new regulations as long as employers make returning as safe and easy as possible. Investing in technology is one of the most straightforward ways for employers to ensure an easy, safe, and healthy transition back to office life.
Looking to safely and seamlessly bring your team back to the office? We can help. Learn how with Robin Return.