Tuesday 11 August 2020
 
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New technology into the workplace

52% of the UAE workforce anxious about returning to work

DUBAI, July 6, 2020

Over half of the workforce (52%) are nervous to go back to work and be in close proximity with others, as the lockdown restrictions continue to loosen, a study in the UAE has found. 
 
SmartCitti who is responsible for the app that helps people navigate their way around Dubai’s leading shopping malls whilst leaving their happiness feedback on their experiences, has joined forces with WRLD3D to announce the launch of their SmartWorkplace social distancing app SafeDistance. 
 
1,000 workers in the UAE were surveyed to gain valuable insight into what they are most concerned about as organisations start to reopen their doors. The number one concern raised in the study is the level of sanitisation in workplaces and the longevity of newly implemented procedures, for example, will hygiene and safety standards slip over time?
 
Workers are also nervous of the possibility of picking up the infection from an asymptomatic colleague and expressed doubts over whether colleagues would follow social distancing rules in the office – especially in compact areas, such as kitchens, meeting rooms and bathrooms.
 
This poses an important question: Should organisations be learning from the Coronavirus pandemic and looking for ways to protect employees from all potential outbreaks, not just Coronavirus? Would they be prepared if this were to happen again?
 
71% of respondents said they would welcome new technology into the workplace, if it aided a smooth transition back to work and alleviated their concerns around safety for the long term. Many of us haven’t experienced a global lockdown in our lifetimes, so it naturally raises questions about the future and our ability to adapt. 
 
The survey also delved into the emotional needs of workers, revealing that 55% of people care about being able to share their feelings at work. At a time like this, the happiness of employees is pivotal and offering support helps to instil their confidence in the organisation.
 
To offer support to those facing a return to work in the coming weeks, SmartCitti and WRLD3D created SafeDistance. Not only does the app monitor morale and encourage employees to reach out when they need help, it also creates a digital twin of the workplace, senses real-time movement inside a building, and assesses risk – this means that employees can feel safe to move around freely, significantly reducing the impact on their anxiety and mental health.
 
Primary features include:
*Safe indoor navigation system: GPS tracking and indoor navigation ensures employees and visitors can be guided around a building and shown the safest route to take, including specific alert notifications on potentially dangerous congested areas;  
*Happy to Help: Allows people to list themselves as a helper or reach out to others for help – whether that is a need of emotional support or just a friendly chat.  People seeking assistance can locate helpers on the app and reach out via messaging. This feature helps to nurture an important sense of community and well-being within organisations;
*Live room occupancy:  Live footfall monitoring ensures that room capacity is never exceeded, helping organisations to arrange desks in compliance with the 2-metre social distancing guideline. Regular cleaning checks will be prompted and monitored to maintain safe workspaces; and
 
*Emotional reporting: Users of the app. are regularly encouraged to record how they are feeling, using a simple mood selector. This helps organisations to monitor and boost morale – and encourages employees to be mindful of others.
 
SafeDistance also has a car parking allocation feature to further support social distancing and sends push notifications to those looking to use meeting rooms, letting them know when it’s safe to enter.
 
CEO of WRLD, Faizaan Ghauri said: “More and more businesses in the UAE are starting to plan a return to the workplace and SmartTech will allow them to do this in a much safer and more efficient way. Our plan is to take as much stress out of the situation as possible, reassure employers that their employers care about their physical and mental health -  and that they have a long-term strategy in place, should there be another wave or a future outbreak.” -- Tradearabia News Service
 



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