Home Business News Wake up London: Tech innovation to help the City back to work

Wake up London: Tech innovation to help the City back to work

3rd Oct 20 7:26 am

For almost six months now London’s business hubs have been deserted as employees swapped the City for home offices. As London reopens employers across Bank, Canary Wharf and Westminster are eager to open office doors and kick start the economy. This is even more important given that the UK is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, but Londoners still need convincing.

Recent research by Smartway2 shows 43% of London-based employees feel uncomfortable about returning to the workplace. At the same time, major companies, including Google, are allowing employees to work-from-home for the foreseeable future.  While businesses are all adjusting to working remotely, organisations’ culture and identity are still largely determined by the practices established pre-COVID. This identity includes office based practices such as training, on the job learning, brainstorming and the ‘watercooler’ moments of staff having discussions outside of specific tasks. For many City companies, they are experiencing a double loss of reduced “uniqueness’ combined with having to pay for large offices which are largely empty.

Mind The ‘one-metre’ Gap

Over half a million workers were employed in the City of London before COVID-19, with offices in large buildings and skyscrapers full to the brim with desks and employees. Following the arrival of COVID, new guidelines stated people should first keep a two-metre distance at all times, which then moved to one-metre Maintaining this distance while getting employees back to work is a significant challenge that many have underestimated.

When social distancing between desks is mapped across a standard floor plan, the number of employees visiting the office on a daily basis needs to reduce drastically.

One-way corridors, one-in one-out bathrooms and easily accessible hand sanitiser stations are also needed on top of social distancing measures. To ensure safety and encourage staff back to the office, businesses will need innovative technology to make sure the guidelines are followed. Technology which can accurately scan and measure the square meters of an office floor so desks are appropriately distanced will be much more reassuring to a nervous Londoner than an employer with a tape measure.

Understanding how many desks can fit in once space also allows employers to know how many employees can work in the office on one day. This means they can set rotational schedules for employees to visit the office at structured times. Not only will rotas ensure the office doesn’t go above a COVID-safe capacity, but it means employees won’t be making unnecessary and risky journeys on public transport and the London Underground.

London ‘track & trace’ Calling

Although the curve is currently flattening in some areas of London, other boroughs, including office hubs Hammersmith and Ealing, have seen a spike in cases. This rise in cases across the capital may indicate early signs of a second wave of COVID-19. In the unfortunate event of a second wave, whether nationwide or regional, offices need to ensure the keep employees as safe as possible.

Implementing an office track and trace system is an efficient way to keep all members of the company safe. Scheduling working rotas as previously mentioned, and keeping a record of who was in the office on a certain date, where they sat and who they came into contact with can help employers quickly react if an employee was to be diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms.

Using cloud-based technology to track and trace the office movements means employers can rapidly react by using accurate contact-tracing records on the employee in question. With all the necessary information teams can quickly notify anyone to was in contact with that employee and rigorously clean desks and meeting rooms to avoid cross contamination. 

Tech innovation In The City

To help the City back to work and to bring the UK out of a recession, it is vital employers reassure employees that workplaces are COVID-19 safe. Technology innovation can help London back to its feet and help businesses ensure social distancing guidelines, contact tracing and deep cleaning schedules are all up to scratch. This technology can also ensure employers use cost-effective measures, now more than ever it is vital businesses save money where possible, especially after paying ‘sky-high’ rent for empty London offices.

London has always been an innovate city when it comes to technology, business and the arts. Now is the time to use that innovate instinct to help revitalize the City and its business hubs to kick start the economy in light of the current UK recession. Smart cloud technology is a key part to this innovation.

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