How organisations can manage office occupancy while working safely during Covid-19

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As lockdown begins to ease and we find ourselves in a ‘new normal’, organisations are searching for ways they can allow employees to safely return to work, just not as they know it.

Covid-19 has changed the place of work forever and it’s now up to employers to ensure they can monitor staff levels in the office, while allowing everyone to work safely following government guidelines.

And we’ve been no exception at ANS. With our offices now open, we turned to technology (obviously) to help us make our office a safe space for everyone to work. So, our top techies got to work and developed a power app which employees can use to book a particular desk in the office for a day or half a day if they need.

The app has 4 different features, there’s a portal for users (employees) and another for admins (typically Office Managers), there’s also a function for cleaners so they can track office hygiene and we’ve also built in an all-important track and trace functionality too. Let’s find out how these features work.

 

User Portal

We built this Power App as a canvas app, optimised for mobile use as we knew this would be the best way for our employees to get the most out of the app. Users simply enter their O365 credentials to start the booking process. They choose a space and the length of time they want to use it. Once they hit submit, the booking is automatically sent to their calendar and they’ll receive a push notification 15 minutes before they’re due to use the desk.

Before they can even book a desk, employees are asked to agree to the terms of use, which is configurable to your organisation. When booking a desk, employees can see a floorplan of the office so they can see exactly where their chosen desk is, reducing time walking around the office looking for their seat.

Admin Portal

Office Managers are able to monitor the status of every desk from the app in real time. Admins can manage who is in the office and where and which spaces have been sanitised. Many functionalities are pre-defined by the managers, such as the number of free spaces, the sessions available and the terms of use.

 

 

 

Having this important information to hand and in one place is vital for organisations that are planning on returning safely to the office we as we all navigate this new version of working life.

 

Track and Trace

As part of the admin’s portal and to support the national effort to track and trace every case of Covid19, managers can see every desk booking for a particular day. If someone who had been in the office became unwell with Covid-19 symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus, admins can easily access data on who was in the office when the person was also there, alerting other employees that they may need to self-isolate.

 

Cleaning

Of course, none of this would be worthwhile without maintaining office hygiene. Cleaners can use the app to monitor and update what areas need cleaning and when. They can see in real time which desks are due to be occupied soon and therefore need sanitising. Once the cleaner has updated the app, the next user will receive a push notification telling them the desk is safe and ready to use and if not, they’ll be asked to use another desk.

 

Our teams have worked hard to ensure everyone at ANS can return to the office if they feel comfortable. Working from home has been described as ‘super smooth’ by 98% of people at ANS, but for anyone who wants to catch up over a social distanced coffee in the breakout room or just wants to see the friendly face of a colleague rather than a pixelated version, this app can help them find some normality.

To see the app in action and find out more about how it works, watch the video.