Powering Chicago has announced the release of an eBook highlighting a variety of technology modifications that can be implemented at commercial properties to limit touchpoints in the office and generally make the environment safer for reentry as tenants return in the coming months.
Designed as an informational resource for owners, managers and tenants of commercial properties, The Contactless Office eBook includes an overview of technology solutions that can be installed in almost any commercial property to limit opportunities for virus transmission. Implementation considerations are included for each technology featured, helping those developing reopening plans determine what modifications can be applied to meet their specific needs.
Examples of technologies that can be retrofitted at existing commercial properties or installed during new construction to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases include thermal camera screening systems that passively monitor for elevated body temperature among all those who pass through the area; germicidal ultraviolet lighting; air filtration and HVAC controls to automate the process to circulate external air through the building, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested is one way employers can help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in enclosed spaces; touch-free light switches, bathroom fixtures and elevator controls; and automatic doors, among others.
“Absent a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, a widespread return to the workplace requires a broad evaluation of how office spaces have traditionally been set up and a plan to modify the environment in ways that minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection,” says Powering Chicago Director Elbert Walters III. “With technology, we can create a largely contactless work experience for employees and install systems that help building managers more efficiently control the environment they’re responsible for maintaining.”
Though the full impact of the pandemic cannot yet be determined, recent studies indicate that a permanent shift away from traditional work environments is unlikely. According to a Cushman & Wakefield study published in June, personal connections and bonding are suffering as a result of remote work, particularly among younger employees. Additionally, a separate study completed by Gensler in May that surveyed more than 2,300 U.S. employees found that just 12 percent want to work from home full-time.
“There’s a strong desire by everyone right now to get back to a more normal day-to-day work experience, and applying the technologies highlighted in our eBook is one way to help move Chicagoland toward the achievement of that goal,” Walters says. “While this alone cannot eliminate the possibility of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, those responsible for planning a return to commercial properties should be considering these modifications as important elements in more comprehensive strategies to minimize the risk of reopening.”
To learn more about technology solutions provided by the unionized electrical industry that can be deployed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to download the eBook, visit the Powering Chicago website.