Like many top executives, Jason Traff has lots on his mind to ensure his employees who want to go back to the office can safely.
The co-founder of Shipwell, an Austin, Texas-based cloud-based supply chain startup, Traff is considering letting a small number of workers back in the office a couple of days a week.
Although he’s seen his business tripled and staff doubled by adding more remote employees by adapting a work-from-anywhere concept amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Traff and many of his employees miss the in-person collaboration and camaraderie. He’s brainstorming how technology could both help create a productive and protective work environment.
Some experts have already offered possible suggestions ranging from a slew of apps that help monitor contact tracing, operate touchless entries, to making sure there’s proper ventilation flowing to knowing when meeting rooms and breakout spaces – even desks are available – and deep cleaned.
There’s also using UV lighting that can help cleanse the air and smart windows featuring artificial intelligence and sensors that can help not only increase natural lighting but also hone air quality, temperature and sound.
“We’ve always been tech-forward as we’re thinking about what that next phase of returning to the office is going to look like,” Traff said. “I’m embracing these next steps both methodically, and cautiously”.
As technologies of all sorts have helped us cope through the pandemic, many are slowly emerging out of their quarantine shells, and for some, that includes going back to the office. Big tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Amazon – among the first to close their offices as COVID-19 surged – are planning to let employees return in reduced capacities. Microsoft and Uber have already allowed some workers back.
And the enterprise software company Salesforce just announced a three-stage approach to reopening its offices in the U.S. using its own work.com technology used to reopen its offices in Australia.