How to increase workplace safety with touchless technology
by Andi Hendrickson
Workplaces around the world are learning to adapt in the wake of COVID-19. In the new normal, we’re all more aware of everything we touch, especially in the office. The CDC says businesses should make a plan to reduce common touchpoints in the office, and any items that can’t be removed need to be cleaned on a more frequent basis. Door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, stair railings. The list goes on. How can we keep people safe without interfering with their ability to work and live? As businesses reimagine their workspaces, new technology can help create a safer environment.
Touchless technology for better building maintenance
Before the pandemic, touchless technology was a cool feature. But most businesses weren’t implementing hands-free features in their offices. Now, touchless solutions have gone from nice-to-have, to essential in keeping people safe at work. Creating touchless experiences also reduces the amount of maintenance required in your building. Proper cleaning and sanitization are essential safety measures in the post-COVID office. Now more than ever, maintenance needs to be handled in a smart, efficient way. It’s both a preventative safety measure and improves your business operations. This guide will show you how to implement touchless technology in your space. You’ll also learn how to manage maintenance to reopen your doors with confidence.
How to implement touchless technology – Step 1: Identify problem areas
Before reopening the office, you need to assess your current space. Look for areas that could increase the risk for transmitting the coronavirus. Start by identifying the most common touchpoints in the building. You’ll want to pay close attention to doors, break rooms, dining areas, shared workspaces, conference rooms, and restrooms. Once you know where the hotspots are, you can keep a closer eye on managing them. Next, determine a budget for your touchless technology updates. As you budget, focus on the most-used spaces in the building, and areas that have the greatest impact. While a voice-activated coffee machine sounds like a nice amenity, it’s not the most essential update. Touchless technology will have the most impact where it can’t be replaced with anything else. Health-related technology can be costly, so invest in solutions that will still be valuable in the future. Touchless technology is future-proof, not just a fad created by the pandemic.
How to implement touchless technology – Step 2: Start at the front door
If everyone entering your building touches the same readers and door handles, any safety updates you make inside might be wasted. Everyone has already used a communal object to get inside. Touchless access control is your first line of defense in a smart, safe building. When choosing a touchless access control system, here’s what to look for:
Mobile credentials. Having people use their phones to get into the building is safer and more convenient. There’s no need to worry about forgetting a badge at home, or people passing them around the office. Management is also easier. You can assign or revoke permissions with a single click. Plus, mobile credentials are more secure. Phones have a form of multi-factor authentication already built-in that you can leverage.
Hands-free functionality. Look for access control that has wave-to-unlock capabilities. This feature lets people keep their phone in their pocket or bag, and wave by the reader to enter. If people have to take their phone out, open an app, and select a door, the system is no longer fast and efficient. This could cause a bottleneck at your door.
Reliability. Your access control system needs to work 100% of the time. Look for systems that have fail-safes and backup power supply. Unlocking should be reliable, too. Choose reader hardware that uses multiple signals to ensure a consistent experience.
Remote access. Cloud-based software gives you the benefit of managing the system from anywhere. Unlock a door for an employee, issue guest passes, or change door schedules remotely. System updates can be done in the cloud, too.
Another benefit of using a cloud-based access control system is the ability to connect with other applications. Access control software with open APIs is easy to integrate with other building platforms. Your employee or visitor management system is a great example. This integration automates your new procedures, such as digital check-ins and health questionnaires. When it comes to future-proofing your building, touchless access control is an essential tool. It’s a more convenient, faster way to enter the building than traditional keycards. You can also connect your access control with automatic door opener hardware if your building allows. A hands-free system will keep the flow of traffic moving through your building without having to touch a thing.
How to implement touchless technology – Step 3: Upgrade to a touchless registration system
Using an all-digital platform enables a touchless sign-in process, too. A mobile employee registration system lets people request access from their smartphone before coming into work. And a visitor management system lets your guests pre-register to come to your workplace. Creating a touchless experience shows that you’ve thought of every last detail of your team’s and guest’s experience. Not only have you made the process more convenient, you’ve also taken steps to lessen the burden on them when they come onsite. By doing that, they’re not bothered with sign-in once they arrive and can more quickly get to work, which saves them time and hassle. Plus, there’s often a lot of info you’ll need to collect from them. Instead of asking for this information during sign-in, you can collect essential information, require they complete a health questionnaire, and take care of any additional actions before the visit. Going touchless is another way to help your entire office stay healthy. By going touchless, you’re able to minimize the spread of germs and make sure you’re taking care of everyone in your space.
How to implement touchless technology – Step 4: Rethink your maintenance management
Even with new technology and digital processes, it would be unrealistic to assume you could remove every single touchpoint in the office. Despite putting in all the best touchless technology and safety protocols, regular cleaning is still necessary. Increasing your building maintenance during COVID-19 is a must for keeping people safe and healthy. Leveraging technology keeps the workplace clean, and also makes your operations more efficient. This, in turn, reduces costs. But how do you know what to clean, and when? Digital workplace management tools can help you plan better maintenance schedules. When revising your cleaning process, your technology systems provide useful snapshots of workplace activity. A cloud-based access control system empowers you with data and reporting in real-time. These analytics, paired with info from your employee registration system, help you see when to schedule maintenance without disrupting your employees. Requiring everyone to register before coming onsite gives you more information to work with. Connected to access control, this creates a powerful tool for optimization. Notice the occupancy trends, like which days have spikes in activity, or which zones are at maximum capacity. Set new work shifts, manage user groups, and open doors from anywhere, all on one dashboard. With remote access to your platform, adjusting for better maintenance schedules is easy. Maintenance staff can use the same digital check-in and access control procedures, too. That way, you have a detailed audit trail of which spaces were sanitized and when. The more visibility you have into what’s happening inside your building, the safer it will be.
Key takeaways & best practices for implementing touchless technology
Creating safe, sanitized workplaces poses a unique challenge for reopening businesses. Touchless technology enhances building safety, without sacrificing security or convenience. Here are a few best practices and takeaways to keep in mind when considering touchless technology in your workplace:
Hands-free and touchless technology has become a necessary safety measure. When budgeting for touchless technology, focus on the most impactful areas first.
Touchless access control gives people confidence in your building’s safety from the moment they walk up to the door. Install hands-free access systems at key entry points with high traffic to remove common touchpoints. Plus, mobile credentials are more convenient, with a faster, hands-free entry experience.
Touchless sign-in reduces the need to interact with communal surfaces or have face-to-face interactions. Require everyone, including guests, to pre-register to come onsite, and enable health questionnaires as an additional precaution.
Cloud-based reporting gives admins greater visibility into building activity. Use access alerts, occupancy tracking, and sign-in data to optimize employee schedules and maintenance.
The right touchless technology for your workplace
Reducing touchpoints and face-to-face contact are the new norms for a safer return to work. Implementing touchless technology has become a necessary safety precaution in the workplace. You can automate your new processes by upgrading to interoperable building systems. Envoy and Openpath work together to create a complete solution for safer, healthier buildings. Envoy’s app-based employee and visitor management system enables touchless check-in processes. Streamline your sign-in and registration requests with the convenient digital platform that connects with 50+ out-of-the-box integrations. Paired with touchless access control from Openpath, you can create an even more hands-free experience. Openpath also offers detailed activity reporting and capacity tracking. Automate your maintenance and cleaning schedules based on access data and analytics. Know who’s accessing your facility and when. Openpath’s convenient remote unlock feature is perfect for reducing face time. Open doors for staff, without even needing to be on the premises. Integrated security and workplace platforms enhance your building’s safety and security. Even after the pandemic, your integrated system equips your space with best-in-class technology. As more people return to the workplace, these are features they’ll be looking for.