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    Ready to go back to the office after quarantine? As we all try to form a new “normal” during a pandemic, your organization may face new challenges, from communicating safety guidelines to effectively using your work space to ensure team members can practice social distancing. Here are five ways space utilization and space analytics can make the transition back to the office easier for you and your team.

    1. Does your organization have a good grasp on how your space was being used pre-COVID?

    “Work from home” policies, while common before COVID-19, have become even more ubiquitous these days.  This means that understanding how often meeting rooms are used, how many people these common areas support, and using that information to allow for a flexible office return are more important than ever before.  Were meeting rooms hard to come by in 2019? Does every employee have an assigned seat? If so, your organization may struggle to allow too many employees back into the office if interpersonal meetings are still in high demand.  Healthy changes can only be made once you’ve got a firm grasp on your space usage.

    2. A culture of choice and worker autonomy

    Many organizations already empowered workers to use a variety of spaces throughout the workday, but there are many of us who are still accustomed to a more traditional work environment. Managing a change to a more agile work strategy is no easy task—it requires tools for employees to make decisions and a positive environment that accommodates different comfort levels.  Mobile desk booking, flexible in-office days, and management leading by example are all key in the post-COVID-19 workplace.

    3. Employee Awareness of Health + Safety

    While your organization may be taking significant steps to ensure your spaces are ready for employees to return—is that information visible? Letting your workforce know that you’re taking cleanliness, social distancing, and hygiene protocols seriously is the first step to settling uneasiness for most teams.  Digital signage displaying space usage protocols, making capacity constraints visible, and ensuring employees can easily find and access this information—either on their smartphone or a centrally located display—help your teams understand that you value their health and safety as much as they do.

    4. Taking measures to help monitor capacity and usage

    While you can’t go back in time and measure your space pre-COVID-19, you can take action to measure usage going forward. Leading organizations worldwide are implementing sensor systems to help them track capacity, social distancing, and build a detailed understanding on how their space is performing.  These data points are essential for evaluating your team’s return to the office, but also provide an invaluable benchmark moving into 2021 and beyond.

    5. Supporting today’s needs while also considering the future beyond COVID-19

    2020’s viral pandemic is sure to have lasting effects on corporate real estate, college campuses, retail and hospitality environments for months to come—but what about beyond that? A successful real estate strategy ensures not only that bouncing back post COVID goes smoothly, but also that your organization is better prepared for whatever comes next.  That’s why adopting a flexible technology platform that allows your employees to ease back into the office safely but also provides a meaningful benchmark for space usage is so important for progressing into the future.  We may not have another viral pandemic quite like this, but we can have a system in place that helps us understand exactly how our space performs and supports a flexible working culture.

    Based in Atlanta, Jarrod is a solutions-focused leader with a history of supporting the technology and collaboration needs of his clients. He has experience as a consultative sales specialist and technology subject matter expert across the southeast US market as well as New York City. Jarrod joined AVUITY in 2019, having nearly 10 years of technology industry experience with international firms such as Steelcase and AT&T.