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Will New Return-to-Office Safety Measures Be Controversial?


Many people have guesses — sometimes even educated ones — about the way institutional and commercial facilities will feel and operate as occupants who haven't set foot in an office in 16 months start to return. While some changes to workplaces are predictable, including social distancing and open office plans, others might be unexpected and even controversial.

Reservation systems for seats. Algorithms that say whether a location is crowded or not. Cameras to show what's happening in real-time. Trackers that let others know you are there.

New technology is arriving at workstations of U.S. bank employees, as they prepare to return to offices, according to Reuters. Not everyone can return at once, though, so banks will have to implement new practices. Shifting rotations of people will pass through giant buildings on different days, without clustering in the same areas on the same floors.

Some banks are implementing systems where employees book so-called hot seats on particular days and be monitored while they are sitting at them. That could include cameras that monitor a room's occupancy level and sensors that tell building management whether someone is sitting at a desk.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market.

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