FM Articles

How Technology Supports Home Office Arrangements

Home Office

As the pandemic hit and office workers were sent home, safety and security plans quickly evolved with the changing landscape. Now, as managers are thinking through return-to-work plans and being creative about them, it’s more important than ever to refresh your safety and security plans and ensure you have the technology to back it up.

One option offices are using as variant threats loom is hybrid work, or a mixture of in-office and work-from-home schedules. With more and more people slowly coming back into the office, it’s essential to audit current safety and security practices, revise your plans to align with employee comfort levels, and communicate any necessary changes with your team. Knowing what you already have in terms of technology can help inform what you might need in terms of addressing the evolving needs of your current workforce.

Technology Serves As Extra Eye When Workers Are Away
With only one in ten companies expecting all employees to return back to the office post-COVID, less people are in the building to check on and address any safety and security concerns. This puts additional stress on building managers and can lead to costly expenses if there is a delay in detecting an issue. Facilities are considering ways that technology can play a role in maintaining and monitoring a facility in humans’ absence. Environmental monitoring technologies can do just that.

Environmental monitoring technology can support operational tasks and decrease worker loads by detecting abnormalities in systems and maintaining a running task list with assignments for workers to complete as necessary. A variety of wireless sensors oversee the operational status and proper function of HVAC systems, power generators, and boilers; logging temperatures within refrigeration systems, and detecting water or humidity. These monitoring capabilities can prevent the loss of convenience/comfort, as well as valuable equipment. For example, if the temperature is rising in a refrigerator, technology can detect the issue before food goes bad.

Automating Communication When Issues Arise
Many office buildings are already equipped with security cameras, a fire panel, door access control and other safety and security technologies but a lot of times these are all separate systems that do not communicate with each other. This can be an issue when emergencies arise because if they are not communicating with each other, they may also not be able to send alerts to the appropriate person or at all. Environmental monitoring paired with an automated alerting platform can detect areas that need attention in real-time and send immediate alerts to specific people who can address the issue right away. This takes the burden off a rotating in-office staff in having to monitor the building environment. This also saves time by avoiding having in-office staff determine the right individual to contact in an emerging situation because the alert will do it for them.

Providing an Added Level of Security
The system can also help with security of the building with a smaller staff inside. With the use of facial recognition software, building managers can quickly know who’s in the building and when they arrived and departed if needed. If there was a breach in security, say a door left open or a suspicious person is detected outside, alerts can include specific locations and can even include a live video feed from the camera nearest to the event. Onsite staff can then make an informed decision on next steps in an emergency situation. Automated alerting platforms can send messaging in a variety of ways such as mobile or desktop dashboard, text message, voice call, email, broadcast over a PA system and more. They can also directly alert authorities to expedite any needed emergency service.

Environmental monitoring systems can also be a big help in emergencies like a utility outage. For example, if a power outage happens overnight the system can detect an outage and send an alert to the proper person in order to determine the malfunction and if it can be fixed without calling in utility experts. If not, it can then alert those scheduled to be in the building that day and let them know to make alternative arrangements for work. Other environmental systems can also detect water and humidity, track assets as well as monitor equipment helping staff members identify and manage the situations. By getting ahead of these situations ultimately productivity is not lost and could even prevent potential injury to an employee. These systems can also keep safety and security procedures organized even if offices continue to use hybrid work plans for an extended period of time.

By leveraging systems to create a holistic safety solution, rotating staffing has a reliable work environment and building managers have peace of mind with ever-changing in-office work plans. With a less stressful work environment, workflow is improved and productivity doesn’t have as many hurdles as we all work to mitigate the ever-changing pandemic.

Danielle Myers is General Manager for Status Solutions. She has been with Status Solutions since 2008, serving in account management and sales roles. Danielle’s expertise includes working with customers in senior living, health care, education, manufacturing, hospitality and government to design, deliver and maintain solutions for integrated alarm management and automated mass notification. She also has been instrumental in expanding the company’s U.S. channel with the addition of new voice, data, fire, security, audio-visual and managed services providers as certified resellers.