It might still be early days but there’s dreadful news for those who have fallen in love with the work-from-home (WFH) concept: enterprises are looking at getting back to office. They are working on extensive plans on how to reopen workplaces, with the safety of employees, customers and visitors seen as the topmost priority. As per the new guidelines for offices in India, businesses need to adhere to stipulated staggered work hours, provide for screening at all entry and exit points, increase sanitisation processes, implement touchless mechanism at the premises with social distancing ensured.
“Technology can help implement such practices while giving the employees and management a single connected platform for workplace safety,” says Dinesh Malkani, ex-president (India & Saarc) for Cisco, and founder, Smarten Spaces, a fast-growing PropTech startup that has developed an AI-based social distancing platform for employee safety.
As workplaces reopen, businesses are under pressure to ensure the safety of employees, customers and visitors as well as monitor compliance and mitigate risk, says Ashvini Saxena, global head, Digital Software & Solutions, TCS. The IT giant has come up with an AI-powered software – IUX for Workplace Resilience, a business command centre solution that helps enterprises make it safe for employees returning to work and for customers doing business with them. According to him, Covid-19 has redefined the dimensions of enterprise risk, making traditional business continuity and recovery solutions incapable of tackling these challenges. IUX for Workplace Resilience helps overcome these by blending risk management with key business relaunch functions spanning workforce safety, regulatory support, operational resilience, and customer engagement. The software lets businesses monitor infection risk at locations and take immediate action, recording compliance.
It enables contact tracing with proximity data from devices such as mobile phones and badge scanners. Combined with images and video, these insights can help firms maintain optimal in-house and remote staff levels or suggest ways to move about to maintain social distancing.
“Covid-19 has challenged businesses to respond to the crisis quickly and rethink their workforce strategies in real time,” says Saadat Malik, vice-president for IoT and Intelligent Edge Services at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Leveraging microapp capabilities within Citrix Workspace (a recently released digital workspace software platform), HPE aims to deliver workflows within its Intelligent Workplace solution that enable employees to quickly complete tasks associated with returning to offices across these key areas:
Employee wellness: Complete health agreements stating no symptoms of Covid-19 prior to arriving at office.
Smart social distancing: Access maps and occupancy information for different parts of the building, reserve conference rooms and hot desks.
Workplace safety: Confirm that shared spaces in building have been cleaned.
Workplace PPE: Locate personal protective equipment and sanitation stations.
Sanjay Jalona, CEO & MD, Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI), says, “Enterprises globally face a daunting challenge as they prepare for return-to-office scenarios during Covid-19 pandemic. Employee safety and continuity of business operations have always been our top priorities as we navigate this crisis.” The remedy from this tech consulting and digital solutions firm is LTI SafeRadius, a GDPR-compliant return-to-work app. According to Jalona, LTI SafeRadius enables organisations to analyse information across locations on LTI’s self-serve analytics platform Mosaic Lens, which offers superior analytics, comprehensive reports, and visualisation for day-to-day decisions. In India, the app is integrated with the Aarogya Setu app through a survey questionnaire, thus helping capture employees’ overall well-being in the context to Covid-19, within and outside office.
Some of the key features of the app are high-risk profiling, incident reporting, seating allocation, staggering work shift schedules, real-time alerts on accidental congregation, highlighting hotspots, and contact tracing.
Awign, a work-fulfilment platform, has created a unique solution called Awign Covid Compliance Platform (ACCP) to ensure that all government guidelines are followed and that there are timely audits of compliance measures. ACCP provides a mobile app-based platform for employers, supervisors and those who are in charge of enforcing protocols. The platform can be easily operated even by non-tech savvy employees. It constantly flags violations of protocols through dashboards, notifications, emails and SMSs to all the stakeholders involved.
The top priority for businesses is to bring their employees back to work safely; new-age technologies can help them reopen safely, ensure business continuity and strengthen workplace compliance.