We asked John C. Wang, co-founder and CEO of IAdea Corporation, to tackle the topic of the keeping front desk staff safe in the return to work.
Workplace front desk staff being at high risk when it comes to health and safety.
Where are we now?
“When we hear the term ‘frontline worker’, my mind almost immediately jumps to those providing essential services such as healthcare or policing, as well as other critical workers like those in supermarkets. But what about the lesser-mentioned ones, such as front desk and reception staff?
“On any typical day, they are busy welcoming and checking in guests, greeting staff and employees, receiving deliveries, and giving out directions, amongst a host of other duties. On top of that, with many of us transitioning back to the office, at least on a flexible basis, front desk staff are also tasked with screening the temperature of those entering the office.
“Constantly being in contact with people throughout the day can easily put them at a higher risk of sickness than that of a typical employee.
Where do we need to get to next?
“While I by no means advocate the replacement of front desk staff—a friendly face at reception is something irreplaceable—at least in times of higher risk, certain riskier processes can and should be automated to better protect frontline staff, as well as free of their time for higher-value work. Organisations can consider some of options below to maintain a happy and healthy workplace for every staff member.
How do we get there?
“Temperature screening can elevate risk for frontline staff, breaking social distancing rules, as it requires being in close proximity with employees and guests. Though masks mitigate some of the dangers, as wearing them becomes no longer mandatory in several countries, risk compounds. FMs must address these consequences with the help of strategically deployed technology that encourages health self-screening and automates processes to reduce exposure for front-line staff.
“Visitor management sits at the top of the list for front desk duties. Automating the registration and check-in process for visitors, or making it fully contactless, however can drastically reduce face-to-face interaction. Doing this not only protects frontline staff, but it has also offered shared workspaces, or even hotels, opportunities to enhance the guest or space user experience by allowing staff to dedicate time other important tasks as they no longer must manually check in each guest.
“Finally, occupancy limits can be an essential distancing tool in theory, however actually enforcing them is a different ball game. Automating the process of capacity monitoring and counting with sensors and visual warning systems to display occupancy levels can help prevent dangerous overcrowding with little intervention necessary from front-desk staff.
“It is a tricky time for organisations to provide a safe and healthy workplace to return to for every employee, and they will need to think creatively and embrace technology to achieve that both towards the end and beyond the pandemic.”
John C Wang is co-founder and CEO of IAdea Corporation