By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

An interactive map of your workplace is an invaluable tool for many reasons. COVID-19 has added even more. Facility managers can utilize office social distancing and mapping software for important insights into the effectiveness of new workplace concepts. Moreover, there’s great potential for indoor mapping solutions that optimize how employees use their newly redesigned workplace.

A great use for office social distancing and mapping software is for return-to-work strategies. Indoor mapping software helps FMs create a safer workplace, teach employees how to interact with the space, and deliver oversight in the event of a confirmed staff illness. Here’s a look at the eight ways mapping software lends itself to a return-to-work strategy.

1. Moderate space occupancy in real-time

For office hoteling concepts and other assigned desk arrangements, mapping software lights the way to responsible utilization. Real-time occupancy shows occupied vs. available desks, so employees know where they can safely sit without putting them too close to someone else. As employees leave their desk or move to a new space, it can also signal facility maintenance to sanitize the now-empty workstation.

2. Floor occupancy and social distancing practices

On a macro level, facility managers can rely on a stack plan to show them opportunities for desking as employees return to work. If the third floor was at 60% occupancy and the fourth floor was at 100% occupancy pre-COVID-19, facilities managers can reintegrate returning workers with more of a balance.

3. Allocate desks and workstations to create distance

Quantitative floor plans give facility managers a quick overview of space allocation so they can spot problem areas before employees come back to work. It’s easy to look at an interactive map and rearrange a cluster of desks—splitting a neighborhood up into individual desks, for example. Moreover, mapping changes before physically moving anything is a proactive way to visualize distance before instituting it.

4. Maintain new conference room occupancy guidelines 

Mapping software and room booking integrations allow facility managers to restrict occupancy in areas where distance is a top concern. They might set the booking occupancy of a 12-person conference room to six or make a four-person conference room off-limits to groups. As a result, employees who use wayfinding software will only see applicable spaces that align with their needs.

5. Visualize and plan for hotel desks and mobile workspaces

Hotel desks and mobile workspaces are invaluable in the post-coronavirus workplace because they offer much-needed flexibility. Mapping software helps facility managers visualize where these versatile workspaces fit within the reconfigured workplace. It’s easy to look at a map and drop a hotel desk here or a hot desk there, and quickly program these seating options into the broader workplace map. Mapping software is a must-have when every workspace counts.

6. Identify workstations that are off-limits

There are some spaces that won’t be ready or usable in the early stages of a post-COVID-19 return to work. Mapping software helps facility managers identify them and either reconfigure them for temporary use or cordon them off so employees don’t misuse them. For more robust wayfinding apps, these spaces might appear as “temporarily unavailable” as employees seek out more information.

7. Convert communal spaces into breakout areas

Remember those unused or unavailable areas? Use office mapping software to reimagine these spaces and coordinate the shift to more user-friendly areas built on social distancing policies. For example, turn a large benching area into a series of small breakout spaces to help employees reenter the workplace. This is especially useful if there’s no assigned seating or if your office will continue to support agile work habits.

8. Enable contact tracing opportunities

Mapping goes beyond seating and desking arrangements. It’s an important tool in contact tracing, in the event of a positive COVID-19 test in your facilities. Cross-reference employee seating with nearby persons to determine which of your workers are at-risk or who need to be notified about a potential exposure. Mapping employee-used workstations can also pinpoint areas that need specialized cleaning and sterilization.

At a time when distance and proximity are vital concepts, workplace mapping is crucial. The ability to see the workplace at-scale unlocks the potential to keep everyone distant and safe, expediting the return to work. From mapping, to managing, to reacting, an interactive workplace map is an invaluable tool that’s only becoming more important as concerns over workplace distance grow.

Keep reading: Six Elements of a Useful Interactive Office Map

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