Your Office Return Could Be Sooner Than You Think

Original article was published by Adam Kendall on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


Your Office Return Could Be Sooner Than You Think

With the threat of a second lockdown looming and the UK government once again encouraging those who can work remotely to do so, the concept of being able to return to an office environment before a vaccine arrives, seems ever more distant.

Office landlords and co-working space providers have suffered greatly during this pandemic and, like most other customer-facing businesses, are employing a variety of COVID safety measures to try to safely open their doors once more. Measures include unidirectional flow of human traffic, hand sanitizer stations and signs to remind tenants and members to maintain a safe distance and to wear masks.

Whilst these measures must surely be effective to some extent, landlords and workspace providers have limited quantitative insight to the actual levels of adherence to these guidelines, and thus to actual COVID-safety of their spaces at any given time. This lack of insight, therefore, also extends to the staff, tenants, members and clients who are making tentative moves to return to the world of work and to step back into the office.

As the world scrambles to do the best they can to reclaim some sense of normality, the highly manual and time-consuming methods employed by landlords and workspace providers to maintain COVID-safety have proven piecemeal, ad hoc and hopeful at best. Despite all the effort, the limited visibility on the actual status of COVID-safety means that staff, members and clients are not being filled with the confidence needed to return en force.

Moving beyond government guidelines

International creative workspace provider, Second Home, had to shut their sites during lockdown and members are only just beginning to trickle back in. To give their staff and members the confidence to safely return to their workspaces, they recognised the need to go beyond the aforementioned safety measures. To bolster their existing efforts, they have harnessed the power of the Sociadex™ platform by Shapes AI.

Second Home’s Workspace at Holland Park, London

Introducing Sociadex™

Sociadex™ is a patent-pending AI platform that leverages the existing CCTV network of any facility to automatically monitor adherence to social distancing protocols. It sends notifications to staff and members by text or messaging apps when distancing levels fall below a threshold. It also provides insights to managers on how their premises are performing over different time periods. Additionally, a ‘score’ is generated based on the levels of adherence to protocols, which can be displayed on premises as well as online, providing clear transparency to all current and potential site visitors. Not only does this promote confidence in the levels of COVID-safety, it also helps inform decisions by individuals about timing their visits to premises. In this way, Second Home is able to both attract people back and maintain safety at all times.

Push notification by Sociadex™

A holistic approach

Distance is not the only factor that affects the likelihood of COVID spreading within an environment and that is why Sociadex™ generates a rich ‘Social Distancing Score’ that takes into account a range of pertinent factors in addition to distance. These include, the time spent in each others’ presence, the occupancy level of a room, the presence of face coverings as well as behaviours, such as coughing. This provides a far more nuanced and deeper insight into the overall COVID safety level of a given environment.

Screenshot of the Sociadex™ dashboard

Conclusion

We live in highly uncertain times that have led to a wide breakdown in confidence across society and the economy. The prospects of a resurgence of an invisible threat have led to a shrinking of our circles of movement and work. Yet society and the economy can only function on the back of confidence.

The Sociadex ™ platform uses existing CCTV infrastructure to provide transparency and visibility on the effective levels of social distancing in any given premises, both in real time, and over a given period. It automates the timely dispatch of reminders and notifications to occupants during any periods of violation. In this way, Sociadex ™ is once again giving staff, tenants and clients the confidence to head back to workspaces and offices.

This is a uniquely powerful tool in the armoury of landlords, facility owners and managers, — alongside the newly implemented hygiene and distancing protocols — to help facilitate a speedy and safe return to near-normal work life.

BBC’s Click programme covered the implementation with Second Home which you can watch here. A demo of the Sociadex ™ platform can be viewed here. If you would like to discuss how Sociadex™ may be able to support your organisation during COVID-19 please contact hello@shapes.ai