Whole-Building Approach to High-Rise Safety 

by Matt Fairhurst

COVID-19 flipped the business world on its head earlier this year, and many businesses were forced to either shut their doors for good or shift operations to remote work, making skyscraper office buildings look like ghost towns. Now, companies and building management are working side by side to institute new policies and procedures that will enable workers to safely return to offices.

What Are Companies Doing?

Following the closing of office spaces, many companies developed internal teams to generate ideas on how they can safely bring employees back to the office while following social distancing recommendations and other CDC guidelines. Mask-wearing will certainly be one of the main precautions taken, as many states are now requiring it as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Other large companies are reassessing seating charts to ensure that people aren’t sitting too close to each other — even going so far as assigning workers to groups and using capacity-based scheduling software to automatically designate days in the office. This technology can also be used for scheduling conference room times or telling workers what times they’re allowed to use the kitchen.

What Is Building Management Doing?

Now, the onus of ensuring health and safety measures are in place doesn’t fall only on the companies. Building management can follow CDC recommendations by taking peoples’ temperatures before they enter, installing hand sanitizer stations near high-touch areas, scheduling elevator usage and following social distancing regulations. Some places have even enacted rules limiting the number of people in elevators. 

But what happens when everyone arrives around the same time and congregates in the lobby, breaking social distancing rules? Deploying a capacity-based scheduling software can help building management curtail this problem by assigning arrival and departure times to each person. This software can assign workers to elevators according to the capacity, allow building management to send messages about procedures to follow — like what door to enter, where to go and what elevator to use — and, when there’s a delay for some reason, the software can automatically triage the bookings, reassigning arrival and departure times.

All these creative measures have the peoples’ best interests in mind and are meant to promote health and safety. By enacting some of these guidelines, we can all limit the further spread of COVID-19.

Matt Fairhurst is CEO of Skedulo, which builds deskless productivity software for the 80 percent of global workers who don’t work in a traditional office setting, from employees in fixed location facilities to mobile field workers on the frontline 

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