COVID-19 has changed the world. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders began in March 2020 within the United States, and regions have been going back and forth ever since, trying to get clear of the virus.
To effectively slow the spread of the pandemic, remote work has become the new norm. However, a post-COVID-19 office will bring new solutions, like creating a hands-free workplace.
Even after the virus eventually dissipates, businesses of all kinds will still remain focused on health and wellness. Spreading germs of any kind will be key to watch out for. Companies may be looking to upgrade ventilation or even downsize to suit employee health. New businesses may be looking for ideal real estate that comes with healthy ventilation.
Regardless, one thing will be common in every post-COVID-19 office — Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Whether it’s sensors or data systems, this network of devices offers employees and companies better ways to monitor health, clean the premises, social-distance and create a workplace where touching isn’t a necessity.
You’ll notice businesses slowly beginning to implement the following IoT-based technologies. Once the world finally moves on from the pandemic, the workplaces with the best IoT systems and protocols will excel and thrive, for employees and consumers alike.
Sanitation was important before the pandemic, but it’s become a central focus for countries, cities and businesses all over the world. Using tools that can disinfect is ideal for maintaining a safe space place to work in. When the pandemic begins to fade, this focus will still remain a priority.
IoT ecompasses tech that connects to the internet and can either operate on its own or through some form of remote programming. Autonomous cleaning systems are now popping up with IoT sensors and connectivity. One device, called Neo, moves on its own as it disinfects and sanitizes.
If the workplace were to install an autonomous ‘bot like this one, it could partner it with an app like CleanPulse or another integrated system. Once the autonomous robot is done cleaning and disinfecting, it could use the internet to send a signal to the app or PA system to announce that a conference room or lounge area is ready for use.
In practice, these cleaning techniques could be useful for real estate showings. When one group of people leaves a location, the autonomous gadget could conduct cleaning and notify others when the space is ready for the next group.
Maintaining physical distance has been a chore. It’s hard for people to go against the norms that they’ve learned their whole lives. However, it’s necessary — and even in the post-COVID office, it will be present to some degree. The IoT can help here, too.
Various sensors, cameras and apps will have your back when you’re in the workplace. Already, you can find some contact tracing apps that tell you if you’ve come in contact with someone who has the virus and is also using the app. Similar platforms like these will be invaluable in the workplace.
Moreover, you can install cameras with thermal sensing and distance sensing abilities. That way, it can alert people that they are either too close together or have come in contact with someone who has a fever. Of course, respecting data and personal privacy is key here as well.
Then, from what the system reports, the business can take better measures to enforce social distancing and any healthier practices. For instance, having some of the team continue to work remotely is shaping up to be a popular option, with at least 16% of employees planning to remain at home.
Technology has often been something you touch. Your phone, your computer, your PIN pad to get into work — it’s all something you touch. However, with the power of IoT, you may soon find yourself in a hands-free workplace. You’ll notice that touchless payment methods have already become the norm.
Smartphones and key fobs can open doors and various rooms without employees having to touch the handle or keypads. They simply use the internet to connect with the security system within the building. However, a world beyond security access is possible. You could soon control elevators or computers with just your phone.
You can also use apps to view room occupancy within the building. If conference rooms are full, the app will show you where you can find some open space to work. These areas are opening up what’s possible for the workplace. Getting rid of germs is a must — and making your business a hand-free workplace will be an ideal solution in the present and for the post-COVID-19 office dynamic.
The Future of the Workplace
With each of these IoT-based technologies in place, businesses can solidify a healthy future for themselves. Employees can ensure that they have the best resources for staying apart, working remotely if need be and staying healthy.
Moreover, technology grows more powerful every day. With newer innovations like automated robotics, the hands-free workplace can also have its own automatic cleaning service.
Staying healthy is going to be a priority for millions for the foreseeable future. Part of that peace of mind now begins with creating an IoT workplace.