You need the right tools

So, the shops are open? When will this pandemic end? When will the next pandemic start? 

As we deliberate the strategy of returning to the office, I’m sure you have considered phasing, social distance planning, updated risk assessments, screening/physical division, maintaining a homeworking contingent and, of course, using technology such as Microsoft Teams to maintain physical separation. 

I have been frustrated by some of the short-term solutions being presented currently. In truth we may well be living in this pandemic to some extent or another, for a long time to come. Let’s put a plan in place for the long term, make your business robust. You can’t afford to lose whole teams for two weeks of isolation at a time, just when the green shoots are appearing.

With this in mind, we have engaged with our trusted partners and have been trying to consider long-term solutions that will aid us in the short term, and we believe we may just have found something.

Dell Technologies have split their strategy into two streams, the physical and virtual. While you may expect the virtual developments, after all at ACS we can talk about those all day long, we feel they have made a real leap forward in the physical realm. While Dell are not the only tech business to supply a thermal camera, they have intelligently created a packaged unit which is capable of bringing together the key elements: thermal vision, identification and tracking. 

While not eschewing just one supplier, Dell do seem to have made a step change, partly by creating a fully scalable solution, from small business to actually being trialled at Heathrow Airport. As the system advances Dell have added Artificial Intelligence, recording ability and, ultimately, centralised solutions capable of integrating with CCTV systems and real-time crowd detection to allow organisations to manage congestion all the way up to stadiums, for example. This is provided with a 24/7 service support package, training and install. 

At this point I felt that the benefits of this development required further consideration. Over the last few years workplace advisors have championed processes and certification such as Well-building and their concepts of Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community and Innovation, the list gets longer. In reality, this is certifying a building from the user’s point of view, particularly with a health and wellbeing perspective. 

It was this development by Dell which made me think that perhaps “sickness” should be added to the “Well” list. We have, particularly in this country, been found guilty of presenteeism or fearing not being seen in the office, one of the key components in poor uptake of agile working. I’m sure we have all gone to work when in truth we should have stayed at home. Passing an illness to our colleagues and starting the cycle of sneezes and coughs throughout the office. That has certainly taken on a new dimension recently!

But with this new technology we could be capable of informing a colleague that they have a temperature and may be ill, now that really is looking out for your staff. But in the current climate, that is also looking out for your business!

This rationale is not necessarily based upon a wholesome attitude to the workforce (although hopefully it is) but on good old statistics, remember the Jones Lang LaSalle, 3-30-300 rule? Simply put, they realised the spending ratio, generally $3 utilities, $30 rent, $300 payroll per square foot per annum. A simple rule but with real transformational power, all of a sudden, we could extrapolate that a workforce productivity increase was far more valuable than any rent saving. Supporting your workforce was suddenly ‘en vogue’ and has the added benefit of improving morale and the subsequent paybacks. 

So, a product that in the short term helps with the return to work, is scalable from SME to airport level, and in the long term could assist your HR team with employee engagement. That certainly falls into the ACS strategy and is what we might consider “the right tools”.

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