The COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over. Tragically, thousands still die each day worldwide. The effects of the coronavirus will reverberate at the personal, economic and even geopolitical levels for years to come.
Nevertheless, in most regions we see businesses either getting back to work or preparing to do so. Enterprises that focused for two months on creating secure, productive work-from-home (WFH) programs must pivot to reopening office buildings, manufacturing plants and other facilities. (Attend our Safe Buildings webinar to learn how.)
The general success — surprising to some, but not all — of WFH has complicated this endeavor, combined with understandable reluctance to return to shared spaces. Whether acting as consumers, employees, students, worshippers or trading partners, people are hesitant to gather indoors with large numbers of others.
And who can blame them? We believe that today’s expanded WFH programs will remain part of the post-pandemic work landscape. Moreover, we believe that just as the bring-your-own-device movement blurred the lines between work computers and personal devices, COVID-19 will blur the line between remote and in-office employees, with many knowledge workers doing plenty of both.
But before this blurring can take hold, facilities must reopen. And in order to do so responsibly, businesses must reassure employees and customers that all necessary measures are being taken to safeguard occupants. To that end, smart-building technology is changing rapidly, enabling procedures that were hard to imagine just months ago:
- Remotely measuring humans’ temperatures.
- Encouraging thorough hand-washing practices.
- Monitoring physical distancing.
- Tracing the potential impact of virus threats.
Privacy and trust
There’s yet another key piece in this already formidable challenge: guaranteeing the privacy of all this newly gathered data. We know through experience and research that data security is often what prevents companies from fully embracing new business models that the Internet of Things enables. But no enterprise can ignore the new healthy, smart buildings imperative, so taking steps to safeguard the resulting data is mandatory.