The Safety-Driven Employee Experience Imperative In 2021
As 2020 draws to a close, the COVID 19 pandemic has brought in disruption in almost all walks of life. One key area that has seen tremendous change is workforce mobility across sectors. For most of this year, desk-based jobs have been done remotely by employees from their homes. While 63% of the global workforce think that working from home improved their productivity, it is unlikely that all businesses will foster complete and permanent work from home culture for the future. Some jobs cannot be done from remote locations and there is a definite sense that when communications and collaborations at a certain level are required, the move will have to be made to the office. But when employees do return to the office, life at work will not be the same.
Some of the mechanisms adopted to protect people from COVID 19 infections like social distancing and sanitization will remain a habit in the workplace. On this note, the safety-focused employee experience at the workplace will assume strategic importance to businesses. Supporting their ability to deliver great business results is important but in these unusual times, businesses will also need to ensure a safe and well-protected environment where employees can collaborate efficiently and remain worry-free about getting infected.
So, now comes the million-dollar question – how can offices deliver an elevated employee experience that is built on safety? Here are some tips:
Flexible Work Arrangements
Until effective vaccines are developed and administered to a large population in every country, there needs to be extreme caution in opening up office spaces where people are more likely to interact in close proximity. A good way for organizations to securely operate during such conditions is to allow only a portion of the employee population to work from the office at any given time. Through intelligent work rotation and flexible work hours, we can create a workspace environment where it is possible to maintain social distance with a limited number of people within the building or industrial establishment. This flexible work arrangement also makes it easier to contain the spread of the virus to more people as any cases of infection can be easily traced for their possible contacts in any given shift only. Entry systems can integrate with smart facility management solutions to ensure that only the required employees come to the office and that they get allocated the infrastructure they need to perform.
Secured Access to Office Space
COVID 19, as we all know, spreads mostly through aerosol transmissions picked up during direct or accidental physical proximity with an infected person. While businesses can minimize the number of staff working out of the office on a given day through rotational shifts, the biggest concern they need to focus on is to create an office environment that doesn’t encourage physical contact in common areas. The biggest example would be the entry points to the office or office building. Most companies have fingerprint-based biometric verification systems that allow employees access to the office. These biometric verification machines can become key aggregation points driving the transmission of the virus. In addition to sanitization measures, employees can be provided with QR code bases access mechanisms on their smartphones which allow them to enter the office by simply showing their unique QR code on their smartphone at the entry point. They can also use these apps to access resources, office areas, and use infrastructure. Thus, there will be a secure way for employees to gain entry and work without unnecessarily touching any surface more than required.
Minimizing the spread of the disease is made possible by quickly alerting people when they have been close to an infected person. When the infected person is an employee, companies may find it easier to run an internal email and keep their employees informed about the possible contact points. But what happens when the infected person is a visitor? It could have been the employee of a vendor that supports the business, like maintenance staff for electricals or plumbing or any other similar utility within the office premise. Companies need to have a smart visitor tracking and monitoring mechanism to enable a safer overall experience. Using digital platforms, crucial visitor information can be recorded, their journey within the office tightly tracked and relevant information such as the people they spoke with, and the areas they have accessed will be stored in the platform. This information can be used to easily build a list of people who have been exposed to the person through physical proximity.
Manage External Interactions Effectively
In most cases, visitors to the office arrive to meet someone specific. Making sure that interactions between people are minimal in the office is a good way to prevent infections as well. This is where intelligent visitor meeting and management can help organizations in their journey to create a safer workplace for employees in 2021. By allowing visitors to schedule meetings with staff, such platforms can manage visit permissions, set reminders for the meeting, help in check-in of the visitor seamlessly, inform or notify the appropriate staff member of their visitor and also facilitate the booking of a meeting room or space where they can straight away engage in a conversation. The whole process can be made seamless and with minimal human intervention.
In 2021, opening your workplace for employees will require you to build confidence in the minds of employees. They need to feel that the experience awaiting them behind the 4 walls of the office is safe and well managed. This will directly impact their ability to perform well. With the help of modern digital platforms, it will become easier for businesses to deliver risk-free workplaces that lift the employee experience to a whole new level in 2021.