COVID-19 safe workplaces: the tech you need to know

Whilst work didn’t stop, COVID-19 meant many workplaces did. As people gradually begin to return to their offices and workplaces, employers and employees alike are looking for safety, reassurance, but also to minimise disruption where possible.

I’m a passionate believer that in digital technologies we can find opportunities to improve the way businesses operate. That’s never been more important than now, with an entirely new set of challenges for businesses of all types to support customers, colleagues and communities. Technology can help business be safer and play an important role in building Britain’s business confidence back up again.

Digital solutions hold some of the answers to minimising the risk of infection in the workplace, whilst allowing safe, speedy access to offices across the country. The internet of things (IoT) has already opened possibilities for businesses and now it’s being used to help them adapt to a COVID-19 reality. We’ve partnered with specialists at Bell Integration to introduce a suite of IoT safeguarding solutions for O2’s business customers to ensure employees can safely interact within the workplace from entry through to meetings. This can mitigate infection risks, but also help workers feel more confident and comfortable in their offices.

Since lockdown, we’ve been working with a range of businesses to ensure we can support them and plan how they safely reopen. To ensure everyone’s safety, businesses are having to adapt from the second people arrive to their premises, balancing how to ensure a warm and safe welcome. One way to do this is by implementing a new virtual ‘visitor book’ solution. When people arrive, they will have to sign in with a Thermal Imaging Tablet – the first all-in-one infrared temperature sensing tablet, which can read surface body temperature (accurate to +/-0.3 °C) from a distance of one metre.  This kind of technology is going to be vital in the coming weeks and months as large offices begin to reopen and will become the new norm for many.

We’ve found that each business faces its own unique challenges.  For example, one business we’re working with, in the delivery sector, needs to be able to check body temperature at various locations, given workers are constantly on the move. We’ve supplied them with a Handheld Thermal Imaging Scanner, which can be used in situations with high footfall, or controlled locations alike. It’s important that people can trust the data that devices give them and mitigating risk, whilst building confidence is key to business success.

Once inside an office environment, points of high usage and interaction – what we would consider normal office mingling – can now be sources of potential risk and concern. We’re already working with a number of businesses to introduce Social Distancing Room Management, which counts people and usage of communal spaces and meeting rooms, automatically updating digital signage to tell you whether it’s safe to enter or not. This helps employers and employees alike do the right thing to mitigate risk through social distancing, whilst building confidence in interacting. It may not be the old normal, but it’s a new normal that helps businesses rebuild.

Workplaces of all types exist to support customers, colleagues and communities, and through innovative and responsible use of IoT solutions, O2 will support our customers as they build their businesses. Being safe, and crucially feeling safe, means digital technology can help people across Britain return to their workplaces.

It would be great to understand the challenges you’re facing when it comes to reopening your workplace and how you’re overcoming them?

Drop us a message if you’d like to learn more about our COVID-19 safeguarding solutions at IoToperations@O2.com