While pubs and bars are beginning to implement their own safety processes and social distancing measures you may be thinking 'what about workplaces?'

Whether co-workers choose to flout or follow social distancing rules outside of the office, that's their choice, but how we protect those who are cautious or vulnerable, when they're all going to sharing the same office? 

As experts warn this pandemic is far from over, a study has found that almost half of the nation (47%) are nervous to go back to work and be in close proximity with others, with aproximately one-third stating concerns over the longevity of hygiene standards that will be put in place.

A new social distancing app, ‘SafeDistance, seeks to eradicate workplace fears post-lockdown and protect employee health for the long term using a digital clone of your office.

The app is a joint venture by SmartCitti and WRLD 3D, WRLD 3D maps are built using high-quality geographic data so companies can create 3D visualizations, run simulations, and develop dynamic location-based experiences. SmartCitti builds highly immersive digital replicas of locations, mirroring the behaviors, movements and situations of the real world. SmartCitti recently launched the mobile app that’s helping visitors to navigate their way around the world’s largest shopping centre, The Dubai Mall. 

A render of how 'Hot Desking' could look on the SafeDistance app

The creators of the app surveyed 2,000 workers in the UK to gain insight into what they are most concerned about as organisations start to reopen their doors. The top three reasons for concern were: 

The number one concern raised in the study is the level of sanitisation in workplaces and the longevity of the newly implemented procedures, with 32% worrying that hygiene standards will slip as the UK starts to return to "normal."

Picking up the infection from an asymptomatic colleague, who may have come in contact with an infected person.

Whether colleagues will follow social distancing rules in the office, particularly in compact areas, such as kitchens, meeting rooms and bathrooms.

The safe navigation feature on the SafeDistance app

This posed an important question to the developers of SafeDistance. Should organisations be learning from the Coronavirus pandemic and looking for ways to protect employees from all potential outbreaks, not just Coronavirus? How could they be prepared if this were to happen again?

A galvinising 62% of respondents said they would welcome new technology into the workplace, if it aided a smooth transition back to work and alleviated their concerns around safety for the long term.

Courtesy: SafeDistance

The groundbreaking app creates a digital twin of the workplace, senses real-time movement inside a building, and assesses risk – meaning that employees can feel safe to move around freely, significantly reducing the impact on their anxiety and mental health.

The main features of the app are:

Safe indoor navigation system

GPS tracking and indoor navigation ensures employees and visitors can be guided around a building and shown the safest route to take, including specific alert notifications on potentially dangerous congested areas.  

Live room occupancy

Live footfall monitoring ensures that room capacity is never exceeded, helping organisations to arrange desks in compliance with the 2-metre social distancing guideline. Regular cleaning checks will be prompted and monitored to maintain safe workspaces.

Emotional reporting

Users of the app. are regularly encouraged to record how they are feeling, using a simple mood selector. This helps organisations to monitor and boost morale – and encourages employees to be mindful of others.

SafeDistance also has a car parking allocation feature to further support social distancing and sends push notifications to those looking to use meeting rooms, letting them know when it’s safe to enter.

Parking with the SafeDistance app

CEO Faizaan Ghauri said: “Our plan is take as much stress out of the situation as possible, reassure employees that their employers care about their physical and mental health -  and that they have a long term strategy in place, should there be another wave or a future outbreak.”

Its safe to say that until now most of us hadn't experienced a global lockdown in our lifetimes, so naturally questions will be raised about our ability to adopt new technologies and embrace health monitoring and social distancing apps.

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