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A Successful #ReturnToWork Strategy

In this post, you’ll find information about a use case for one of the more impactful projects where TableAir assisted a large organization of 6000+ employees in starting to return to their office. We want to share how almost any company could apply the same workspace strategy and #ReturnToWork fast and smartly.

One of our customers has implemented TableAir and provided access to their 3 office buildings (18 floors) for 6000 employees with an initial desk availability of 30%. Meaning roughly 1 of 3 desks are available to be booked. This helped them to maintain physical distancing while allowing employees to come back and enjoy their workspace since June 15th.

The available desk allocation will increase with respect to the changing situation and after analyzing the demands from employees. The plan so far is to increase availability gradually from 30%, 50%, and eventually 100%.

Increasing occupancy

So far, more than 40 groups (for different employee and workspace groups) are helping people return to the office. The group functionality ensures that only those people who have permission to use certain desks can book them.

Desks are also being cleaned every time after use. Contact tracing allows customers to backtrack the employee and provide a list of nearby users. In case an infected person becomes apparent, a list of nearby people can be identified and provided to the management.

In the mentioned case, an unfortunate event happened when one user became aware of infection with Covid-19; fortunately enough, it was traced quickly, and people who worked nearby for the last week were identified. The event happened on Friday; the entire floor was immediately locked, bookings on the entire floor were disabled and thorough disinfection of the floor performed. On Monday evening, desks were made available for bookings again, and people could utilize, sanitize, and hazard-free environment.

Large office plan

Also, corporate communication and brand awareness are important when considering larger companies. TableAir is very flexible in adapting the visual system color scheme to match your brand guidelines.

Custom colors

Once the quarantine became a reality in the spring of 2020, companies worldwide faced an unexpected challenge: how do you continue business with minimum effect to a regular work day? TableAir has been at the forefront of this challenge and assisted customers in handling their process and automating the transition. The result of this experience is the following strategy that we’ve combined into six simple steps:

  1. Remote work – it’s important for companies to enable a remote work policy; the remote work itself can be segmented into different levels, probably best described by Matt Mullenweg (founding developer of WordPress) in his article here. Which level do you think your organization is at?

     

  2. Workspace bookings – if the staff can book a desk before coming into the office, you’re establishing a self-regulating environment where users can allocate a workspace for themselves at a required time. They can do this only before coming to work and only in those workspaces that management has allowed them to book.

     

  3. Safe distancing – it’s an outcome of a regulated environment where management defines what level of occupancy % is allowed at the office. Let’s say you will start with 30% occupancy, increase to 50% and gradually go back to 100% workspace availability (hopefully); while all of this is being done through workspace bookings, the transition should be smooth and without many hiccups.

     

  4. Contact tracking – if the above 3 requirements are implemented successfully, contact tracking can also be achieved. If a person gets infected, TableAir, as a data processor, can filter the contact tracking data for your usage. You will decide should the colleagues that worked close to the exposed person will be asked to work remotely or should any other measures be taken.

     

  5. Sanitation – once desk bookings are available, you would usually get 2 states of workspaces: the workspace is either vacant or booked. With the smart workspace sanitation module enabled, the workspace will have a 3rd state. Indicating that it is vacant; however, it requires to be cleaned. Either the cleaner or employees themselves can clean it and mark it as ready to use.

     

  6. Boost the morale – all of the items above help you create a smart and efficient process for returning to work; however, human beings are not cold metal gears in a mechanism that needs to be brought back. Probably the most important part is encouraging people to be open and to thrive in their work environment. For that, we have a couple of surprises for you down below the page.
Process - Return to work

After talking with facility managers and executives regarding the current situation, TableAir found out that one of the following options is chosen most often: 

  1. Extending time while a remote work policy is in effect;

  2. Installing plexiglass dividers to limit the spread of germs within the office;

  3. Indicating some workspaces as non-available to comply with physical distance recommendations.

All options seams to work; however, they either require investments into the physical environment or are built on a notion that this phase will pass. In our opinion, the most efficient and cost-effective way to continue business as usual is using a system such as TableAir, which allows you gradually open the office up.

Sanitation

Another very important aspect is the sanitation of the workspaces – companies that can handle this efficiently and smartly will save facility management resources and do it smartly.

The way this works is very simple. Normally in the TableAir system, there are 2 states of the workspaces – they’re either vacant, in which case the workspace is indicated green, or they’re currently in use or booked; in that case, it’s indicated blue.

With the sanitation module enabled, the workspaces now have the 3rd state. After someone booked it and used it, instead of it becoming green=vacant, instead it changes the color to terracotta color, indicating that the desk is free; however, sanitation is required.

Sanitation explained

There are a few ways how companies can manage the cleaning of the workspaces. The first one is the most simple = before a booking can be made, a popup appears asking users to confirm if the desk has already been cleaned.

Cleaning steps

We also encourage the staff to clean themselves – a desk sanitizing dispenser that can be installed on any desk.

However, if you wish that only the cleaning staff cleans the desk, you can do that by providing an NFC card and installing TableAir sensors. See below how Traffic Light Circle might do the job for you.

Traffic Light Circle

Just like a software-only version, a 3 states of the indicators are visible; the only difference is the way to change the state users must use their access cards.

Traffic Light Circle

3 Options are available:

  1. TLC – a simple circle LED indicator showing the desk availability;

  2. TLC NRR – like TLC + with the ability to scan NFC and RFID cards;

  3. TLC NRR Keypad – like TLC NRR + ability to control sit-stand desk height.

The Most Important Part

All the things mentioned above solve the technicality of returning to work. However, maybe the most important question is how do you boost the morale of your staff and make going to work exciting again?

The answer is by focusing on positivity – emphasizing what’s good around us!

TableAir, being at the forefront of workspace innovation, provides a vision and products that do exactly that.

Wellness should be at a center stage, and we are offering 2 products:

  1. Sit-stand desk program encourages people to stand more.
  2. A tool that will make your workspace exciting again.

     

We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to assist companies, and people go back to the normal way of working.