How to safely return staff to the workplace using Esri tools

June 18, 2020 Josh Triantafilou

As governments move to reopen the economy, organizations need to determine how to manage their workforce and safely return staff to the workplace in a manner that mitigates the potential spread of COVID-19.

This article reviews how you can use Esri’s Coronavirus Business Continuity solution and similar tools to:

  • Safely return staff to the office
  • Understand the status of facilities
  • Understand the health status of staff
  • Manage a remote workforce

Reopening the Workspace

Back to the Office app

How can you maintain social distancing while returning staff to the office? How many people can the office accommodate? Do your floor plans need to be reconfigured? To help you answer questions like these, we’ve developed the Back to the Office app that you can deploy on your current ArcGIS stack.

Ideal for HR and general management, the Back to the Office app is an interactive smart form and dashboard that provides a high-level understanding of how many staff you can safely return to the workplace according to social distancing requirements and the unique configuration of your floor plans. The dashboard enables you to specify various parameters and filters to analyze different scenarios for seating arrangements and the placement of staff.

The app can be deployed very quickly in ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online, using configurations of out-of-the-box ArcGIS Dashboards and Survey123. All that is needed is a CAD file of your floor plan(s). The smart form, powered by Survey123, is embedded in Dashboards, and allows staff to indicate their return to the office and reserve office space. The app can be easily integrated with Microsoft Office 365.

ArcGIS Indoors

ArcGIS Indoors is a solution designed for more in-depth application of location intelligence to indoor environments. Using this tool, you can:

  • Perform indoor and outdoor wayfinding and routing – for example, to reduce congestion and encourage social distancing
  • Get floor/room level status data, including:
    • Available/Unavailable
    • Occupied/Unoccupied
    • Healthy/Unhealthy
    • Contaminated/Decontaminated
  • Enable feedback from personnel—for example, to understand which locations may spark health concerns of staff
  • Identify points of interest or concern such as kitchens or elevators that may come into higher frequency of physical contact compared to a single employee’s desk
  • Visualize operations/incident response

Facility check-in

An essential component of returning staff to the workplace is the management of the workplace itself. Within the Business Continuity Solution, the Facility Status Reporter app enables you to track and maintain the status of facilities. In conjunction with Survey123, you can submit reports to update information regarding the status of facilities.

Information submitted from such surveys will be reflected throughout the ArcGIS platform. Using the Facility Status Dashboard within the Business Continuity Solution, you can view metrics such as:

  • Number of facilities closed or scheduled
  • Number of facilities scheduled to be opened or close
  • Number of staff in office, working remotely and absent

This information helps your organization understand the status of your facilities and workforce and manage them accordingly. 

Staff check-ins and dashboards

Check-ins enable staff to report information regarding their work or health status, which can then be visualized through dashboards to inform decision making. Using Survey123-powered forms and the Personnel Status Dashboard in the Business Continuity Solution, you can:

  • Create digital surveys that can be made available to everyone in an organization and filled out via a mobile device
  • Identify potential symptoms and health status of staff
  • Understand where staff are working and their work conditions
  • Track who is working with whom to help manage social distancing and contact tracing

The information that these Surveys provide can be aggregated and visualized using dashboards to provide insights to managers. Using these dashboards, you can better understand the health status of staff, where and with whom staff members are working as well as compare key metrics like absences to historical data to identify signs of a potential infection.

About the Author

Josh Triantafilou

Josh Triantafilou is a marketing specialist with Esri Canada. He makes it easy for people to find and evaluate products and services relevant to them. Josh is interested in the power of GIS to make sense of the world and affect meaningful, positive change within it.

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