After what felt like forever, New Yorkers are on the way back to their offices. With COVID cases on the decline, it’s an exciting and rejuvenating time.
Before the return happens, we need to have a serious discussion about cleaning protocols. And an often-forgotten part of that discussion is the way that IT teams can play a key role in helping to keep offices safe.
Here are a few ways that IT admins can reduce the COVID risks as we return to the office, and help keep things running as smoothly and safely as possible.
“Did you try turning it off and on again?”
Technology always seems to stop working at the most inconvenient time. So as employees get back into the swing of things, it’s best to anticipate and prepare for troubleshooting problems.
Despite how trusty the off-and-on-again solution can be, IT teams will have a hard time managing more complex problems without a remote solution.
A great starting point for any office is to implement a mobile device management (MDM) system. Simply put, an MDM allows IT teams to manage devices like laptops, desktops, and phones remotely to accomplish common tasks like connecting to new network equipment and recovering lost files.
But these kinds of systems also help to enforce more security and application update policies effectively, efficiently cut access when offboarding, and easily provision devices when onboarding (Yay! No more having to travel to install a printer driver!).
Not only does an MDM reduce costs, improve security, and speed up processes, but it also helps IT teams to provide assistance with minimal physical contact. Win-Win.
If your office is set up with Apple products, you can use Kandji, which calls itself the “next-generation Apple device management system.”
If your office is running on Windows products, you can use VMware’s Workspace ONE, which describes itself as an “intelligence-driven digital workspace platform.”
“Sorry… I have this room reserved...”
You can’t have your employees packing into conference rooms or fighting for space (hello, social distancing). So, you need a solution that allows your office to make better and safer use of its space.
Luckily, there’s software that can help deliver a safer, more efficient experience for in-office employees or those with a hybrid arrangement in which employees alternate between working at home or in the office. According to a Pilot survey about the future of work, 63.2% of workers are either in the office or working in a hybrid situation.
Density is a prime example. They designed and manufactured technology that measures how people use office space in order to make smarter use of it. In these socially distant times, Density can help manage occupancy limits. You can use Density to simplify space planning, manage operating expenses, and meet hybrid workplace expectations.
Envoy keeps workplaces running smoothly and safely with features like touchless sign-in systems, automated daily health screenings, and real-time space management that ensures capacity limits aren’t exceeded. The tools they’ve created, such as Envoy Rooms, allows employees to book conference rooms virtually, making every workplace more flexible, safe, and productive.
Another option is Office.ly, a platform that can be integrated into Slack to allow employees to see where colleagues are working, manage office resources, monitor office usage, and coordinate team office days. Officely also helps to keep your team safe and socially distant by offering desk booking, capacity management, contact tracing, and health screening directly in Slack.
Only 99.9% percent of germs?!?
When employees return to the office, just think about how many people will need to touch any office doorknob in a day. Ick.
This is a great reason to use a solution like OpenPath, an access control system that limits physical contact as employees move through office buildings. OpenPath converts physical access points into touchless ones, eliminating the contact risk of many keypads, buttons, turnstiles, doorknobs, and more.
The best part? OpenPath’s API integrates with many of your existing systems and tools, like Slack, Google Suite, Envoy, or Density, making it that much easier to avoid playing roulette with the 0.1% of germs that hand sanitizer doesn’t catch.
Just because some of us are returning to work doesn’t mean video calls are going anywhere. In fact, according to Pilot’s Future of Work survey, 56% of our Manhattan business customers expect their high-bandwidth video usage to increase.
Creating video-enabled conference spaces that are set up and ready to go means IT teams can spend less time troubleshooting one-off problems.
Poly offers every product you’ll need to set up a virtual conference room, including headsets, business phones, and webcams, so your team can continue to have effective meetings even when attendees may be joining from all five boroughs and beyond.
A few more for the road
Here are a few additional ways IT teams can help reduce unnecessary physical contact risks:
- Prevent congregating around office copiers by implementing a virtual queue (like PaperCut’s Find-Me Printing) for making copies or automatically staggering the delivery of print requests.
- Eliminate the basket full of germy adapters and HDMI cables in conference rooms by implementing wireless sharing technology like Bluetooth, AirPlay, or other contactless methods and teach employees how to use them.
A safe return
While it might not be obvious at first, IT administrators and their teams are vital front-line workers when it comes to readying employees, equipment, and processes for a safe return to the office.
Keep in mind that these smart devices and systems will likely necessitate more bandwidth to allow for optimal performance from this technology (just like you might need a little more coffee to get used to being back in the office).
Reach out to see how Pilot’s reliable internet solutions can help you get your workplace and all of its devices running smoothly.