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BCO paper outlines office technology that is responding to Covid-19

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has published a new paper outlining how technology is being used in offices to combat Covid-19.

The paper titled Impact of Technology on the Covid-19 Workplace outlines how the sector is adapting and embracing  a range of new technology to ensure that offices can comply with hygiene and social distancing measures.

It states details of a wide range of ‘point solutions’ being considered by the sector, including:

  • Desk and Room booking apps – that are deployed to allow users to book individual desks, meeting rooms and other resources
  • Occupancy sensors – temporary sensors that measure the number of people in an office, alerting building management when the number is high
  • Workplace apps – matched with occupancy sensors, workplace apps can tell people which areas of the office are at risk of being over-populated and so should be avoided
  • Touchless interfaces – apps and voice technology can allow lifts, lights and other features to be used ‘touch-free’
  • Visitor management – in the longer term, the paper envisions workplaces that allocate space  to visitors based on occupancy within the building, and uses unique QR codes to do so

The BCO says while many of these solutions can be retrofitted, the paper states that those fitting or refurbishing a new building should consider the “more fundamental adoption of smart technology”, using advanced technology to manage energy consumption and to deliver a building that is not only efficient and safe, but also optimised for occupants’ wellbeing.

The paper outlines how Covid-19 has catalysed and accelerated the long-term shift to smart technology. It predicts that the pandemic could be the “death knell for dumb buildings”, meaning those that do not have smart technology integrated into their design.

Nigel Miller, Managing Director of Cordless, author of the report and member of the BCO Research Committee, said: “Covid-19 has presented a raft of challenges for the workplace, but these can also present opportunities. When open again, offices need to adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene measures, and be flexible and responsive to any future needs .

“Technology can greatly aid this, and its adoption can lead to long-term benefits that outlast the pandemic. This paper will help the sector navigate new technology and help those planning to integrate it into their buildings.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, added: “Covid-19 has left the country working from home. While this presents a challenge to our sector, it has also shown the true value of the office as a place where networks are formed, learning takes place and creativity flows. The adoption of technology can allow us to safely return to the office and enjoy its immense benefits.”

The free paper available to both members and non-members and can be downloaded here.

Webinar – Prioritising wellbeing in a Covid-secure workplace

FMJ has teamed up with Zip Water, creator of award-winning sustainable drinking water systems, to discuss the ways in which FMs can safeguard the provision of essential amenities within the workplace as we emerge into a new era of touch-free, socially distanced offices.

During the event, which will feature a panel of leading FMs and an FM services provider, we will discuss how FM professionals, office managers and HR managers can balance the need to manage shared spaces, such as staff kitchens, while maintaining a safe environment and meeting energy and waste reduction targets. This will include a look at some of the latest touch-free technologies; including apps to manage workflow and hands-free automation (e.g. automatic doors, taps etc).

Join us on Wednesday 25th November at 11:00am for an event which will address the ways FMs can meet their commitment to ensure the wellbeing of people as an integral part of their sustainability remit.

To register for the webinar please click here.

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