Business IT

3 Technologies to Help Employees Return to the Workplace During COVID-19

3 Technologies to Help Employees Return to the Workplace During COVID-19

by Pat Pharr - August 7, 2020

After months of working remotely, managers and their teams are eager to return to a sense of normalcy in their work life. While returning to shared work spaces under COVID-19 restrictions will entail careful planning, businesses of all sizes can prepare themselves and their employees for a safe return to the office with the help of the Meridian and Konica Minolta Return to Work program.

Technology eased the transition into remote work, and again proves useful for a safe return to the office. The three technologies included in the Return to Work program are especially suited to a healthy, contactless strategy.

Return to Work Program

In these unprecedented circumstances, companies are all figuring out the best and safest way to return their employees to the office. However, with so many guidelines to keep in mind, it can be challenging to establish a clear and concise plan for everyone to follow.

The Return to Work program focuses on four essential steps to ensure employee well-being and statutory health and safety guideline compliance without overwhelming employees - or HR departments - for companies of all sizes.

1. Virtual Health Check

Employees complete the Virtual Health Check, emailed to them each day, before heading to their workplace. The system alerts the employee if they are requested to stay home or invited to go to the office based on their reported health status. If they are cleared to go to work, they will then complete the next step.

2. MOBOTIX Thermal Camera Screening

This second-level screening uses the MOBOTIX Thermal Camera to detect if employees entering the office meet the accepted body temperature measurements - per CDC guidelines - using intelligent contactless thermal imaging technology. If results are out of compliance, the employee continues to the third step in the program.

3. Temperature Verification

The third-level screening involves a temperature check by a trained manager to confirm the MOBOTIX reading, which will be logged in the employee’s health check data file. If the employee is experiencing a raised temperature, HR may advise the employee to return home or seek medical attention after reviewing the self-reported health check conducted before the employee arrived. However, if the employee is within temperature compliance, they can then safely enter the workplace, adhering to the recommended social distance and wearing a mask.

4. Incident Management Reporting & Contact Tracing

During an employee’s return to work, their data from Virtual Health Checks, MOBOTIX Thermal Camera screenings, and HR records are secured in a cloud-based database for COVID-19 contact tracing reports. Should any employee show symptoms, anyone who has been in contact with them can be immediately alerted and directed to the appropriate health and safety measures.

How Technology Can Help Employees Return to Work

The Return to Work program utilizes existing technology in a new context to maintain safe conditions for all employees. Just as technology for workplaces has rapidly evolved during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will continue to be refined and seamlessly incorporated into businesses’ daily operations during this “new normal.”

ALICE Virtual Receptionist

ALICE is a contactless virtual receptionist system that can safely welcome visitors to the office while removing the need for face-to-face interaction. While performing all the same duties as an in-person receptionist, such as coordinating visitors and providing them with self-adhesive name badges, ALICE can also provide additional touchless security measures.

This system can provide ID verification and facial recognition while also keeping records of visitors and employees entering the building for safety and contact tracing purposes. Additionally, ALICE can work in tandem with MOBOTIX to deny entry to visitors showing elevated body temperatures or other symptoms of COVID-19.

MOBOTIX Thermal Imaging Camera

MOBOTIX thermal imaging cameras can provide accurate recordings to identify abnormal body temperatures, as defined by the user. This camera can be incorporated into a video surveillance system at each entrance. MOBOTIX works at long-distance as employees enter the office, transmitting temperature reports in real-time to an HR manager, health and safety specialist, or other trained staff member, allowing for an immediate response if needed.

Thermal imaging provides a non-invasive and contactless option for protecting the safety of the office environment. A raised temperature is often an early symptom of COVID-19 infection, so employees exhibiting an elevated body temperature should be sent home to avoid possible transmission.

Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a centralized solution for organizing and managing a company’s digital archive. In the era of COVID-19, ECM can become an essential tool in responsible contact tracing. Using proprietary workflow solutions, ECM allows records to be kept of whom a symptomatic employee regularly works with, whether they carpool with anyone, or what meetings they might have been in, all in the interest of reducing potential spread of the virus.

Once information is collected by the Return to Work program, ECM can store all the health records for the company, rather than manually inputting and managing the overwhelming amount of data associated with this type of undertaking.

How Technology Facilitates A “New Normal”

While the workplace may look different now as employees and their managers begin returning to their desks, technology such as thermal imaging and digital archiving can help smooth the transition and ease health concerns.

The Return to Work program provides a road map to a sustainable health and safety procedure for businesses of any size, and can be supported by additional technologies such as the ALICE receptionist, MOBOTIX thermal imaging camera, and a secure ECM. These new technologies will work in tandem with management teams and employee observation of recommended precautions to ensure a safe and productive return to the workplace.

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