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COVID-19 Solutions for Facilities Managers

8 Jul 2020

With the easing of the lockdown, you need to find ways to make sure that your staff, visitors and customers are doing what they need to do, and to keep everyone safe.

There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this, but there are a few different tech tools that you can use to help manage your spaces over the coming weeks and months.

Here are 3 tools that might be useful for you. You might find that none of them are right for you, but please don’t just dismiss them. At least think about whether they might help you and make your job easier.

Tool 1: Digital Signage

What is digital signage? 

Well simply it’s a sign or signs that are on some sort of digital display, such as an LED or LCD display.

Think interactive maps as you walk round a museum. Or the screen on the wall in the doctor’s surgery showing information and adverts. Or small screens on conference room doors that tell you who is in the room today. Or the menu boards in McDonalds that swap from the breakfast menu to the main menu at 11am.

Digital signage is all around you when you start looking.

So why would you use digital signage?

There are a few reasons that this might be really useful for you.

  • You can easily change your messaging in line with government advice, whenever Boris changes his mind, or as your own policies and procedures evolve
  • With a rolling presentation you can display a number of different key messages in the same place, rather than having to choose which is the most important at that point.
  • Heavy exposure to a single message can make it less likely for someone to do what it says – by varying the message, it is more likely that these will be followed.
  • Using video may make your messages easier to understand, for example for those where English is not their first language, or for children
  • Using messages with sound will make the messaging accessible by those with a visual impairment
  • Being able to change messaging throughout the day without having to roam the site to find all the right printed signage can be really useful

But where would you use it?

There are many places that you could consider the use of digital signage.

  • In reception areas to inform staff, visitors and customers of your site rules and requirements
  • In warehouses or operational areas to remind staff to keep their distance, wash their hands etc.
  • In high traffic areas to provide directions to staff, visitors and customers – and with digital signage you can change the signage at certain times of the day to make areas one-way at the start of a day, and one-way the other way at the end of the day. Or you can change it on the hop if areas are getting too congested and you need to start managing the flow of people.

You may not need it everywhere, but there might be some hotspots where it could really help. It’s not going to be right for everyone, and it won’t solve every problem, but it could be a really useful tool to help you through the coming months.

Tool 2: People Counting Cameras

If part of your strategy involves limiting the numbers of people in certain areas of your premises, then counting them in and out can be a very labour-intensive process. And if you’ve got multiple entrances and exits, it can become a real headache.

A People Counting Camera is a tool that does what it says – it counts the number of people that go past it in either direction.

So if you put one at the entrance to an area, you will know how many people are in that particular area at any point in time. And you can link them together – so if you’ve got 2 entrances and 2 exits, with a camera at each of these, it can still calculate how many people are in the area.

Then the clever stuff happens – you can tell the system what your maximum capacity is, and link it back to a display at the entrance to tell the queue when the next person can go in.

It could save you a lot of manpower right now.

Tool 3: Sound & Video systems

You may find that the combined effect of spreading people out to keep to social distancing requirements, and not being able to shout/raise your voice, means that people can’t see or can’t hear.

Technology can also come to the rescue here.

If people can’t hear, then you can look at sound system options. It may be as simple as giving the speaker a microphone that connects in to your existing sound system. Or adding a couple of extra speakers to cover the areas that you don’t normally use.

If people can’t see, then look at your video options. Do you need an extra screen so the people at the back can see what’s on the main screen? Do you need to film what’s going on at the front and show that on a screen near the back? Can you then show that film in a different space and increase your capacity?

If you’re thinking ‘that all sounds expensive’ it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

You may already have everything that you need, it might just need a bit of shuffling around rooms and setting up properly.

Or a small purchase of one bit of kit might suddenly open up a lot more possibilities for using your space.

If you want to test the waters before you spend any money at this point, or you’ve got a one-off event that you need to sort out, then you might want to think about hiring the equipment you need.

The right technology in the right place can make a massive difference to how you can use your premises. In a socially distanced world, space is a real asset. Being able to use more of it more effectively is going to be key to navigating the coming weeks and months.

What’s next?

If you want to have a chat about any of these options then give us a call on 0330 008 0480, or leave your details here and we’ll send you some more information.

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