Although there is hope on the horizon in the form of vaccination roll outs, we still have a ways to go with the effects of COVID-19. Because of this, and the naturally cautious approach that will follow in loosening restrictions, the regulations put upon businesses to keep office environments safe will be with us all for some time to come.
And compliance is more important than just protecting an organization’s reputation or bottom line – people’s health is at stake.
Meeting all the requirements of COVID-secure workplaces is a major undertaking, and is also a moving target because of constantly evolving and different rules in place in different countries. But workspace management and scheduling software has the power to lighten the burden of compliance, and help organizations create office environments that are safe, meet the needs of business, and that employees feel confident enough to work in. This blog explains how, across seven key areas:
1. Social distancing
Workstations must be spaced out to ensure that employees aren’t working too close to one another. However, this is especially tricky for multinationals because minimum distances vary in different countries: for example, 2m in the United Kingdom, 1.8m in the United States, 1.5m in Australia and 1m in Singapore. Workspace management, however, allows different floor plans to be configured for each building within an organization, allowing more desks to be set up where it’s safe to do so.
2. Contact tracing
Most territories require systems in place for contact tracing, so that people who have come into proximity with a co-worker showing symptoms can quickly be told to isolate. The data collected within workspace management software can assist with this in identifying where that user had been working on previous days and quickly assessing who had been using nearby workstations or had attended the same meetings.
Many US States, including California and New York, require workers to self-certify that they are not showing symptoms or been subject to possible exposure before they enter an office building. This functionality can be incorporated within workspace management via a customizable workflow, where each employee can confirm their self-certification either through the web-based application or through the mobile app.
4. Work from home if possible
Working remotely is still strongly encouraged in a number of countries, especially in the United Kingdom, but for a variety of reasons, this won’t always be possible. However, the flexibility of a workspace management tool means employees can get the best of both worlds, still operating remotely most of the time and booking an office workspace in advance when required. As employees become able to work from the office more often, they can simply use the system to make more bookings.
5. Move meetings from physical to virtual
Connected to the point above, enabling virtual meetings is an important part of helping people work home more often. Of course, some meeting attendees may still be working from the office, and so a solution that brings the two types of employee together is required. Within workspace management and scheduling, a meeting space can be booked at a specific time for physical attendees, and within the booking, the required video conferencing equipment can be ordered in advance so virtual attendees can connect.
Flexible working means shared workstations, which leads to a huge responsibility for employers to thoroughly clean and sanitize each space after each individual use. It’s a duty that must not be overlooked or forgotten about, and workspace scheduling can make sure that it isn’t. Sanitization buffers can be built into each workspace’s schedule, blocking time off for new bookings, and notifications about which spaces need cleaning and when can be sent directly to cleaning staff, who can therefore build up a sanitization schedule easily.
7. Reducing interpersonal contact
Entrances and exits are major risk points for close contact within office environments, especially if everyone starts and finishes work at the same time. Territories like Singapore ask employers to stagger working shifts to avoid this, so that departures and arrivals are spread out. Workspace scheduling enables this through a more flexible approach, where employees’ office working times can be set and capacity limits put in place. Contactless check-in functionality at front-of-house and booked desks also minimizes any risk of transmission on surfaces.
To learn more about Covid-secure workplace compliances, visit https://www.condecosoftware.com/solutions/covid-safe-workplace/