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Focusing on the post-pandemic office

There will be a future need for smart, wellness-equipped office space as a result of more people working remote and under-utilization of existing office spaces due to pandemic, according to research and marketing company Gartner.

“Due to COVID-19 many offices remain unoccupied or underutilized as employees choose to work remotely,” said Gavin Tay, research vice president at Gartner. “However, once lockdowns ease, employees planning to return to the office will have heightened concerns about personal health and safety. Offices that have been turned into smart, wellness-equipped spaces make employees feel safer.”

The report says that to build a wellness-monitored office, application leaders can start by initiating the use of integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) solutions that see to the health and safety of employees. IWMS and resource scheduling applications (RSAs) that use artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), including motion sensors and beacons, can remind employees to adhere to social distancing rules based on their whereabouts. Keep ahead with contact tracing and promote the use of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) as wellness coaches.

Organizations should also invest in systems that monitor air quality in real time and keep employees informed, Gartner says.

”Additionally, features that provide the ability to continuously disinfect, improving air quality by reducing airborne and surface contaminants like viruses, bacteria, germs, volatile organic compounds, smoke, and other allergens will be important. Ultimately, cleaner air allows for improved recycling of air, which will contribute to energy-saving benefits as well as make the workplace healthier.”

”Converting empty “ghost offices” into 24/7, healthy, co-working spaces will present organizations with added costs. However, it can be an important first step in a mitigation plan — allowing organizations to recoup some of their losses during a partial, phased or full reopening. Employees who do not want to work remotely or who lack a good work environment at home will be the first people to benefit from converted offices.”

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