Purpose: Part 2 – We are back, part 2 and still wondering out loud and would like you to join the conversation. Please comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We surveyed our customer base and have some observations we wanted to share. We are looking for feedback from you on predicting and planning the office of the future because that is what the team at Perfect Video Conferencing is here for. If you missed part one, click away here.
In all three parts of this series, we have some baselines for context that will be repeated in each, and we will offer the fourth post with a simplified summary. Now, let’s get to work.
In some instances, we are also poking fun- at the situation and ourselves. While nothing is terribly funny about the Covid-19 crisis, we hope to still have some fun. All work and no play makes for dull days, and like you, we’ve had a lot of says to consider what comes next. We have seen three distinct and different approaches to the CoronaCrazy events, so we wanted to approach this from that perspective.
- Post 1 – This is terrorizing – I can’t go back to work! Again, here is that post.
- Today’s Post: This is no big deal, let’s go to happy hour!
- This requires focus, so act like a parent (or an office manager) – how do we take care of the children and make sure they are safe!
There is now a wealth of health experts and government guidelines pointing to what proper and required protocols will shape our return to work, or more importantly, what a return to the office will look like. It will be different and the happy hour as we knew it is over, for now. The game room and group kitchen tables will be off-limits and closed, for now. Most office managers we are talking to are figuring out the challenges of free lunch and free coffee or kombucha. There has to be SOME limits to what is or is not allowed! Until we have herd immunity, vastly expanded testing and contact tracing, we are going to have to wait for crowded tables and ping pong tournaments. Feeling inventive? Create a virtual ping-pong table with VR glasses.
To be focused in our approach, here are the baseline we carry in these three posts:
- We don’t know how serious or not serious this is in your area, so regardless of all that debate, PVC is acting in a way that will protect us and you from this and any other contagion we all might carry.
- We are going to follow the CDC and OSHA guidelines and look to our customers and partners for feedback.
- We are here to help build great collaboration spaces and perfect video conferencing deployments and strategies.
- These are unique times, so we are looking forward to creating unique approaches and solutions.
Perfect Video Conferencing (PVC) has developed new practices to keep our onsite staff and subcontractors safe and for your teams to feel comfortable with us returning to your offices. As the policy is updated changes will be posted here.
Group 2 – This is no big deal, let’s go to happy hour!
Sure, but let’s be clear how this is going to work and how you can help. Plan on a few things. The group gathering cafes and places for lunch will be closed for quite some time. Bring your own leftovers. During your shelter in place cycle, perhaps you learned how to pickle things like a lot of people did. Vinegar helps keep us clean, inside and out. Happy Hour? Probably not in clusters, so if you can stay away from one other, wear a mask and still be happy, call us- we may join you. In all of the conversations we are having with our customers, we are hearing about a new normal.
Be prepared to help with contact tracing. There are actually apps on your phone (notes) where you can track your daily contacts or locations you went, and the time you went there. Make notes in your calendar about who you may have contacted, when, and where.
Getting into the office?
- You might be wondering if you HAVE to or you might not WANT to. This is still being worked out by most of our customers, but one key metric will be safety first, then working to maintain connection and company culture. Company culture will have to evolve.
- Experts are figuring this out, but know you have a role in this too. Understand both your comfort levels and what is required of you to be part of a team.
- If 100% of the office has to return (this will not be the case), the spaces we know and love will not allow this and stay in compliance with the new guidelines, so perhaps we work in cadres of staff – 30% of the staff onsite in one cycle followed by a deep cleaning, then the next group- isolating and allowing access safely.
- Having your temperature read, wearing a face mask, open conversations about and disclosure about wellness will be standard. Our consortium has started installing thermal cameras in office buildings to meter access. Just imagine what the queue at a bank of elevators might work and then you will understand the concerns about the kitchen and the coffee.
So you are headed back, what will the office look like? Get ready to wear your bubble wrap PPE suit! Our CEO has one of those inflatable Halloween costumes (He’s the Minion, Kevin) – so maybe we all get sumo wrestler N95 inflatable PPE suits?
On a more serious note, our customers are predicting:
- Hand Sanitizer outside every conference room, with signage stating do not enter until you rub down, with pump stations of hand sanitizer everywhere. Less packed conference rooms in order to maintain social distance will become the norm.
- Training on sanitation will evolve. Healthcare “burn zone” thinking (if you touch it, it might burn you- protect yourself) will permeate COVID awareness training or food-safety and sanitation guidelines will become a foundation. Example: During recent installs during lockdowns, it was not uncommon to see tools, iPads, chairs, and desks being touched or shared regularly between staff without wipedowns and washings.
- Branded face-mask giveaways for guests. It’s the new tchotchke.
- Acoustic tiling that also filters air and sprays sanitizer- all kidding aside, there are aerosol (hydrogen peroxide) sanitizer kits being retrofitted as office and sanitation Roomba robots equivalents. Ionized sanitizer sprays will be the norm, as will overnight cleaning crews with special equipment, making it safe for you to return to a space after colleagues.
- Maybe we get self-cleaning conference rooms, like those French Toilets you see in some cities, with 30 minutes of cleaning between use? More likely we will have touch-free conference rooms that are voice-activated and 6-foot barrier tracking between people in the room. Everyone will need to carry their own dry-erase markers.
- Vendors like PVC will have designated on-site hours so as to not (potentially) expose a company to outside exposures.
- Reception desks will become the first line of defense, with larger buildings also having temperature readings and triage stations as you enter a building. Reception desks will be a closed waiting room prior to being granted access- and this will be done over a video call to protect front desk staff. Also, why would an outsider come to the office until we have great testing, contact tracing, or a vaccine? More video conferencing meeting rooms are going to be needed ASAP (We hope!).
Still think this is no big deal? We all miss happy hours of some form, so that’s OK. However, play a role in creating the new normal that protects against the unknown. That part is as easy as washing our hands prosperity and wearing a mask. Reduction of risk is much easier than removal of all risk.
Lastly, our clients are anticipating some form of testing and monitoring of result disclosures. We may be temporarily categorized (anonymously, of course):
- Red – Exposed, COVID active, or potentially exposed, stay home, and isolated. Work remotely if you can, but prioritize taking care of yourself and your family and not exposing others, including your coworkers.
- Orange – Through contact tracking and tracking, you may be identified as potentially exposed. Work may ask you to isolate yourself until your COVID status is known.
- Yellow – You have been exposed, and now are healthy and well, ready to return to work- but we should keep an eye on your temperature and track what health officials are learning about the longevity of symptoms and viral immunity.
- Green – All clear, COVID clear, tested, and monitored and it is THIS group that can gather for happy hour. Party hearty, wear your masks, and wash your hands!
About Perfect Video Conferencing:
Founded in 2009 by Randy N. Marcotte and John Killcommons, Perfect Video Conferencing was born of a commitment to integrity and partnership and the desire to create a boutique brand based on white-glove service to its customers.
What started as a simple conversation about shared values evolved into Perfect Video Conferencing. Those seeds of dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction has moved PVC from a shining star in a clouded sky of VARs to our own constellation of VAP – Value-Added Partner.
As our industry evolves, we continue to innovate and forge relationships in order to provide our customers with the most up-to-date unified communications solutions backed by the most customer-focused support, remaining true to those inspirations that are at our foundation.