Tech will pave the way for work efficiency and office safety

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Organisations across the UAE and the GCC region will have to ensure the safety of their employees returning to work by investing in innovative new technology, experts detailed.

This new tech will have to play a dual role in not only allowing employees to work remotely, but also ensuring their safety when they are working in an office.

Speaking to Al Khaleej Today, Refat Al Karmi, Mist Consulting Engineer at Juniper Networks, said that with new business and social constructs, including social distancing and shelter in place, many enterprise IT teams are taking the lead in their organisation's road to a safe and secure workplace. The Covid-19 threat exposed several unforeseen threats to an enterprise's invaluable assets, including people and processes.

"However, a realisation from the crisis so far has been that employees can successfully work remotely, stay connected and be productive wherever they are, as long as they have the equipment and good Wi-Fi connectivity," he said. "With that in mind, I think that there will be calls from both ends of the spectrum - employees and employers - to engage in more remote working practices."

According to data by Regus, at the end of 2019, over 50 per cent of workers globally worked outside the main office 2.5 days a week or more. With the onset of Covid-19, these statistics are much higher. Global shipment rates for laptop computers have outpaced desktops by more than 50 per cent for at least a decade, according to International Data Corporation. Additionally, tablets have become the preferred personal device, with 2018 sales up by more than 600 per cent from 2010.

Looking ahead, Nicholas Maclean, managing director at CBRE, said that the 2030 workplace will compete for use among an even more diverse and mobile workforce. "To contend with the myriad of connectivity available in a 5G world, it must be the best venue to connect with colleagues, experience brand and mission, and get work done."

When it comes to office safety, CBRE says that businesses should prepare for a more discerning workforce that will expect continuous, credible assurances that they are working in a safe environment. This will include clear displays of updated safety, health and wellness information and resources for employees, visitors and occupants throughout the building and specific workplace

Al Karmi noted that despite a move towards remote working, offices will remain a space of gathering for key meetings and events, and it will be inevitable for groups to come together even if just occasionally. Companies need to look at technology-driven solutions that can help protect employees and visitors in the workplace, he said.

"Juniper Mist has announced several new solutions around contact tracing that leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytics, Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth technology to keep employees safe. The technology offers a seamless and cost-effective deployment and can flag hot zones within the office, provides information on the movement of staff within its set parameters and traces interactions to help minimize future exposure to the virus. This way if an employee falls ill, it should be easier to contain the spread," he said.

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Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Al Khaleej Today. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in , feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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