With masking, social distancing and frequent sanitation of surfaces all necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, the way we think about and utilize offices will need to change for the foreseeable future.

There are some simple modifications that offices can make to keep employees safer, but Jarrod Easterwood, Director of Marketing and Partner Relations with AVUITY, said most can’t take the time or spend the money required to do an overhaul and create a truly pandemic-proof space. So creative solutions are needed.

“Most facilities and real-estate groups can’t completely gut and overhaul their entire footprint. Obviously, the health concerns are important, but that’s a huge expense,” Easterwood said. “What we’ve done at AVUITY is we’ve basically said, ‘Hey we’ve got this platform that we’ve basically been using for workplace measurement and workplace analysis and custom reporting. We’ve been doing this for a number of years, and we’d like to extend that into health and safety concerns.’”

Easterwood and his teams have found that most companies have a very poor understanding of how their workspaces are being used, lacking data that is now even more critical – things like which meeting room is the most heavily used or how often a certain area of a break room is cleaned haven’t been of much concern, but now must come to the forefront.

“A platform like ours at AVUITY allows you to set thresholds and rules and look at patterns of, ‘Hey what’s the right mix at our office? Do we want to say meeting rooms have this rule set for booking so people aren’t overlapping?’,” he said. “There’s lots of these rules companies can institute into the software to help the business run more smoothly.”

Once we return to something like the public health environment of late 2019, those regulations can be easily changed with the software, and it can become more of analysis tool than a health one once again.

For now, in the initial phase of returning to in-person work, companies can utilize the tools to understand how their spaces are being used and make sure the employees using them are kept as safe as possible.

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