Sometimes it takes a crisis to create real change.
The current pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Technology has made it easier than ever for far-flung employees to coordinate and collaborate remotely, fuelled by the tools which enable real-time teamwork.
So, as we bury the archaic theory that ‘confining people to one space ensures productivity’, CRE leaders are challenged with reshaping the role of the workplace post-COVID.
Here’s how industry leaders are paving the way.
Get ready for the return: facilitating safety
It’s no surprise that a survey by CIPD revealed that 44 percent of people in the UK are anxious about returning to the workplace. As we see a steady trickle of workers return to their desks, you must address concerns by planning safe and compliant office spaces.
How technology can help:
- Thermal screening solutions can help keep the virus out before people enter your building
- Reduce contact with surfaces to prevent the spread with smart devices and contactless sensors
- The Internet of Things (IoT) can facilitate social distancing with space utilisation, people counting and room occupancy technology
- Provide confidence and reassurance with data driven cleaning, enabling more efficient use of cleaning resources alongside safer cleaning regimes
According to research conducted by Insight Enterprises in May 2020, 58% of companies plan to invest in smart, personal hygiene devices, such as connected hand sanitisers, 35% plan to invest in contact or no-contact infrared thermometers, while 25% plan to install thermal cameras. The use of interconnected devices and sensors can help workplaces improve safety for employees and customers, but businesses can also use light sensors and next-generation ID cards to make the workplace more efficient and improve customer experience.
With a focus on employer responsibility, legal compliance, employee wellbeing and workplace remobilisation, technology can help expedite a return to normalcy. Whilst short-term plans to make the office safe are crucial to encouraging customers and employees to return, installing smart technology will also provide real benefits for real estate leaders in the long-term.
Prepare for the unpredictable: build resiliency
Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has irrevocably changed the way businesses operate, laying bare the crucial link between a robust IT infrastructure and business continuity. The most technically advanced businesses were the first to mobilise their teams as technology allowed them to be more agile, whereas companies which had previously failed to adopt a cloud-first strategy struggled to migrate on-premise solutions.
With 80% of revenue growth hinging on digital offerings and operations by 2022, IT leaders should continue transforming their operating models, according to KPMG research. Phill Oliver, Chief Business Development Officer at Excell Group comments, “COVID-19 has opened up the door for digital transformation – the worst thing real businesses could do is to freeze in times of uncertainty.”
By balancing short-term measures with a long-term strategy, companies that invest in digital innovation will emerge from this crisis more competitive. Oliver says, “A focus on people, processes and innovation should always be at the forefront of every leader’s minds. The businesses who maintain this focus, in the good times and the bad, will be the most resilient and agile.”
Critical technology – such as bandwidth, VPN access, and collaboration tools – have enabled businesses to keep moving forward. Now, it is time to look at the IT infrastructure in your property through a strategic rather than operational lens to improve service delivery and productivity, whilst reducing threats and vulnerabilities.
A Digital World
Without question, the world post-COVID will be a more digital one. ‘Continuously innovate’ needs to be your new manta, investing in digital transformation wherever and whenever is possible. Businesses have never been under so much pressure to create safe environments, with the caveat that there is no bullet-proof protection against a virus which has no vaccine. However, if companies take every precaution to create safe working environments, employing technology to enable them to do so, they can also innovate their offering to create the workplace of tomorrow.