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Transitioning to hands-free

Transitioning to a more hands-free workplace will help you decrease the amount of surface interactions employees need to engage with, ultimately improving cleanliness and service.

Many of the technology solutions we have put in the workplace over the past years are reliant on touch. Technologies such as booking room screens or sign-in tablets have become the norm. While from a furniture perspective think of your  height adjustable desks buttons or height adjustable task chairs. In a post lockdown return to work, many of these technologies will now pose a risk and require us to rethink how we approach interaction.

Hands-free workplace technology advances will offer us a vehicle to continue interaction with these devices that have become integral to the smooth running of workplaces. 

Replacing touch with gesture:

Product examples include automatic soap dispensers or waste bins and from a wider perspective gesture control can be utilised for building control access. More simple gestures can be considered for non-secure access control, such as automatic doors or bathroom door locking. Gestures doesn’t have to be completely hand driven, it can include the usage of swipe cards or fob keys for additional security.

Smart device technology: 

One idea is to shift control of the workplace environment to each person’s smart device. An example of this might be to include the use of Blue-tooth to grant employees access to their building, replacing less sanitary kiosk check-ins. The added advantage of this is that it eases the cognitive load for employees, given we are each familiar with the interface of our own mobile phone. Significant investment has already been made in these technologies as our colleagues in the East return to work.

Article Image W Caption Handsfree2

Facial recognition:

Although least advanced for immediate application in the workplace, facial recognition has been recently popular in retail applications, mainly for crime prevention purposes. The speed of automation with facial recognition technologies make it not only a useful tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19, but a great tool to enhancing work methods amongst your team. Imagine video conferencing starting when you walk into a room as it knows you are the host, or a workstation that adapts its ergonomics to the user automatically.

Voice activation:

Siri, Google and Alexa have made voice control both more normalised and easily accessible in recent years. Thus allowing companies to easily integrate voice activation of their physical environments. Voice control needs to be a considered application to ensure they are not intrusive or in-cumbersome on your day to day activity. Digital whiteboards are becoming available with voice activation and we expect to see voice recognition integrated into more workplace furniture items going forward. In some applications voice activation can also cut error rates where previously gestures could result in significant levels of human error.

This piece is part of our ongoing commitment to delivering resources that will help initiate discussions around getting your workplace back to work safely. More resources are available here.