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Controlling the Unknown - Building Reentry Done Right

As buildings grapple with the unknown during and after the pandemic, business owners and building operators must weigh the pros and cons of reopening their businesses and offices. Growing numbers of people are showing an interest in getting back to their places of work as the appeal of working from home loses some of its shine. Whether or not it’s safe to return to work is still up for debate from commercial and retail perspectives to the federal government, but there is a right way to do it when it happens.

A recent survey shows that 51% of people are cautious about going back to work because they’re worried about getting sick. A phenomenon called being “lost in the familiar,” when the brain goes on auto-pilot due to a common situation but becomes confused or stressed when new circumstances dramatically change the overall situation, is bound to be experienced. People are “back to normal” at the office, but new regulations, desk layouts and more are strange. These emotional stressors as well as physical health risks have led to many companies keeping remote work policies in effect or reducing the number of people or hours spent in the office. Many large corporations are not expecting to have 50% of their people back in the office until September at the earliest.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Businesses and buildings have a wide range of reasons for staying closed or choosing to reopen and the steps to do it right, while unfamiliar, are very important. Fortunately, technology is available to make this adaptation less difficult.

Step-by-step guides such as one from SalesForce’s Work.com create a plan from how to know when to reenter a premise and the value of leadership communication to operating an office with a focus on health and safety and helping employees adjust. A foundation to their plan is their centralized dashboard called Workplace Command Center that visualizes multiple streams of data like employee wellness, training, contact tracing and more in one location. This single pane of glass approach is a well sought after approach for businesses around the world and also the ideal setting for conversational AI to take operations to the next step.

“Remember, communication is a two-way street. Your employees need to be at the center of everything you do. Listen to them. Ask them how they are feeling. Solicit feedback for areas of improvement. Lean on them, just as they will lean on you.” - Elizabeth Pinkham, Executive Vice President of Global Real Estate, Salesforce

Terminus’ Conversational AI platform is the conduit between people and successful businesses and buildings. Technology has shown that data can make the impossible from just a few years ago an expectation today. Conversational AI is the most natural and least disruptive way to get the data needed by owners and operators while giving tenants, visitors and other users the information they need without the hassle.

The importance of clear and consistent communication during stressful times is highlighted in reentry plans as well as keeping shared spaces clean and tracked. However, reaching the right people to communicate messages about sanitization practices like hand washing and masks as well as new desk spacing can be challenging. Finding the best way to ensure the message is received and read by those in the building is just one of the first concerns, followed by enforcement. With the right technology, communication and collecting data to make sure these environments are safe go hand in hand.

Source: Bloomberg

Clear and consistent communication about expectations and processes is very important for reentry to reduce those feelings of being “lost in the familiar” while promoting productivity. An easy communication gateway via text messages, Slack integration, and many others allow a familiar route for users to get the information they need.

One simple way to do this is through the integration of cleaning schedules with shared space or desk usage (and other systems connected via a shared dashboard). In this video example of a user checking about the last time their desk was cleaned, the information is instantly available to them via a familiar and efficient communication method. This is more than convenient, it immediately reduces the user’s stress and concern while enabling them to get back to work.

Interested in how Terminus’ conversational AI can make the reentry process controlled and as comfortable as possible? Contact us and let’s make the unknown less intimidating.

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