Post-COVID Workplace – Smart Buildings

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Post Covid Workplace – As we start to co-exist with new normal thrown in by COVID-19 pandemic, assuring your employee’s safety to work is of prime importance. Along with employees’ mental well-being, it is necessary to focus on the ‘environmental well-being’ of the workplace.

Recent studies from HKU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering indicate that the spread of COVID-19 can occur through airborne transmission of aerosols. The spread is caused by particles 1-5 microns in size and its reach is significant with ventilation of fewer than three litres per second per person. The particles can be reliably filtered if the ventilation is 8 litres per second per person.

Diluting ventilation from outside air poses a high-risk of viral build-up in the facility of the buildings. Hence, Commercial buildings need to implement a ‘healthier ventilation strategy’ as per new wellness recommendations from industry standards such as ISHRAE, ASHRAE, WELL, and others. Employees will be at ease if the compliance data is shared with them. These steps will relieve their anxieties and boost their productivity levels.

Manual method for ventilation control is error-prone, as it does not provide compliance records. It is also a costly proposition. The latest automation technologies should be leveraged to adhere to the new guidelines for the operation and control of HVAC systems. Compliance with necessary standards and statement of records helps in reducing disease transmission and building a healthier workplace.

Let’s look at how a large-scale organization can adapt to the new normal and create a COVID safe workplace by implementing a suite of smart workplace solutions:

System ConsiderationsRecommendations
Air Quality MonitoringContinuous monitoring of indoor air quality
Humidity Control40~60 percent through HVAC automation
VentilationOccupancy based air ventilation (8 litres per second per person)
Air Exchange (or Fresh Air Rates)More outdoor air and increasing air change rates based on occupancy & air quality
Space RestrictionsEnforcing restrictions by monitoring space density
DisinfectionUV-C light with safety
Automated compliance auditsMask detection and warning with vision analytics
Maintenance of HygieneRestroom hygiene with usage-based cleaning
Thermal ScanningThermal scanning of all entrants in office premises, along with maintenance of records.
Seating arrangementsSafer and flexible seating options through the ‘booking and assignment’ feature.
Tracking ViolationsLocation-based services for tracking social distancing violations and providing traceability of the same
Personnel HygienePeriodic hand sanitization through location-based services. Mobile application for communicating employee health & hygiene information

The safety recommendations mentioned above can be applied to hospitals, factories, warehouses, offices, or any other form of commercial establishment. The solution that implements the above recommendations should require minimal changes in existing technology infrastructure and provide systematic monitoring.

Digital Blanket, a smart building technology by Flamenco Tech leverages the ‘Internet of Everything (IoE)’ and ‘Automation’ for realizing the recommendations listed earlier. Its simplified product design lets property managers, facility managers, and real estate managers improve the quality of building premises for the betterment of the occupants.

Workspaces can be made safe with the right automation

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