• lalaurenlong

Running Buildings in Safe Mode

Conversations about how to reopen buildings and make people feel comfortable and safe within the walls of their office continue to happen. These conversations include questions like should we be reopening right now and what is the top priority in keeping buildings clean to prevent them from becoming a hotspot of problems? We ourselves recently went into this in-depth on our recent blog “Controlling the Unknown - Building Reentry Done Right” where we covered the importance of clear communication, automated and integrated cleaning services, and more.

However, there is a lot more involved in going back to work such as logistically bringing people into a building when social distancing practices are in place. The traditional 9-5 workday means there are crowds of people entering and leaving the building at the same time. Beyond bottlenecks at the entry doors and badge scanning stations, crowding around elevators while people wait for them to become available is normal. Elevators are famously awkward but add in the six-feet rule and the right way to use them becomes impossible as the standard elevator must be at least 4’ 3” deep and 5’8” wide.

Recommendations for proper elevator behavior cover a wide range including:

  • Wear a mask.

  • Load the elevator in a checkerboard pattern.

  • Face forward.

  • Announce your desired floor.

  • Have the person near the buttons select for everyone, using their knuckles.

  • No conversations.

  • Create queuing lines in lobbies.

  • Stagger employees’ arrival and departure times.


With contradictory recommendations and others suggesting to take the stairs which is an impossibility in tall buildings, the right way to use elevators in “safe mode” is quite the debate.

Fortunately, the tools to make the logistics side of building reentry more organized and less stressful already exist and quiet the debate. Imagine a scenario where you have a reservation-like system to enter the building, reach your office, and later leave to go home. This would significantly reduce stressors like when to get to work to avoid the crowds without racing the sun on your commute in. In theory, this sounds great but if it’s clunky to use or the original plan no longer works due to a schedule change, what happens?

Today’s technology for scheduling and other various purposes like elevator reservations can be integrated without too much of a problem. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to download another app to their phone, remember a separate username and password or use it at least twice a day to avoid a crowded elevator.

Or it could be as seamless as texting your own elevator concierge assistant. Here’s an example of how that could play out:

Wasn’t that easy? It may also have the beneficial impact of making sure you don’t get stuck at work until 8pm without the associated emotions of your partner at home reminding you to check the time.

This is possible through Terminus’ conversational AI and numerous integrations with partners so that the powerful and complex functionalities of building operational systems have a simple and friendly user interface. This means more people use it and the system works better because of it while adding more data into the overall system which could enhance HVAC performance and run times and other operational processes.

Curious about how Terminus can make your existing systems more user-friendly in a time where there is more than enough to worry about? So are we - let’s talk.

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