There’s no denying that technology or, more specifically, information and communication technology (ICT) has supported us in our efforts to remain in lockdown at home since the outbreak of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It has even allowed us to work, shop and socialize from our homes during this all-too-trying time. Yet now, slowly but surely, we have to start moving out of our homes again and into our offices, factories and shops. Inevitably the question arises: how can technology facilitate that tricky but necessary process? Here’s one interesting example for you to consider.
Last month, my colleagues in Luxembourg participated in ‘Hack the Crisis Luxembourg’, an online hackathon. Participants in a hackathon typically team up to create solutions and concepts from scratch in a short amount of time, addressing current problems. This particular hackathon focused on sparking solutions to the crisis caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus. The Luxembourg edition actually followed an international movement against the virus that started in Estonia, before spreading into Finland, France, Hungary and India.
During the two-day event, no less than 200 participants competed in a total of 33 projects. Ten projects were selected for nomination by a jury of 13 professionals, who then picked out five of these as winners.
One of the winning solutions, S@feOffice, was conceived and developed by my colleagues. Nominated in the category ‘Think about the post-crisis – the nation of tomorrow’, the idea behind S@feOffice was to rethink the whole concept of an open office, taking into account the continued need for social distancing. With this project, my colleagues basically tried to come up with an answer to the question: “How will businesses with large shared spaces operate post-crisis?” Setting a secure workplace for their collaborators in today’s complex and sensitive new environment - the so-called New Normal - is a challenge that many of these businesses are not yet prepared for.
With S@feOffice, employees can book a working slot at the office as well as a seat for lunch at the canteen in a user-friendly way, all while respecting the social distancing rules. They can even book a coffee or a smoke break, avoiding the risky queuing. They can also organise meetings and workshops - again: with respect for social distancing - and collaborate with customers, partners and colleagues, live and remotely.
To manage all this, S@feOffice lets you take into account and model many parameters, from office maps and staff lists to catering facilities and cleaning services. Thanks to its familiar, user-friendly interface, the implementation of S@feOffice is fairly easy. In fact, it only takes a few minutes to model your business needs in the tool.
Last but not least, you can easily integrate S@feOffice with a wide range of popular applications, particularly the Microsoft Office 365 suite. The solution even offers an AI-assisted capability to design and manage staff traffic and flows, or to optimize the location of tables and seats in open spaces and cafeteria.
By allowing a smooth and secure transition from working@home to working@office, S@feOffice is, in every sense of the word, a winning example of a technological solution that can get us back to work as part of our government’s lockdown exit strategy. Read more about it here or click here to watch an actual demo clip of the solution (1:59).
In my next post, I will look into another important area of life where technology can also support and facilitate a government’s lockdown exit strategy: shopping!