For over a year now, we have all been well aware of the need for social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the rollout of vaccines is well underway and many of us have now been vaccinated, social distancing is still being recommended (and even legally enforced) in many jurisdictions all over the world.
In addition to this, the usefulness of distancing and other measures such as face masks in preventing the transmission of less serious viruses such as flu and the common cold has become apparent. For this reason, it's likely that some of these measures are likely to stay in place in future.
With an increase in awareness of safety in the workplace, the role that technology may be able to play in maintaining public health has come into focus. As well as technological solutions such as contact tracing, one solution that can be of benefit to employers looking to increase workplace safety is that of indoor mapping.
Indoor mapping explained
Indoor mapping refers to the process of creating maps of indoor spaces, usually using sophisticated technology. These maps can be simple 2D aerial floor plans (such as those used in architecture) or more advanced 3D computer-generated representations.
Indoor mapping is used by organisations to help assist with navigation, enhance user experience, and increase the efficiency of daily operations. In addition, indoor mapping can also have hugely positive effects on the safety of a workplace. Creating 3D indoor maps using MappedIn or other services is worth considering if you are planning a workspace.
In this guide, we will explore a few of the ways that indoor mapping can help maintain a safe workplace now and in the future.
Allocate workstations effectively
When designing a floor plan for your workplace, one of the most important things to consider is where each employee's personal workspace - or workstation - will be. As well as planning the locations and proximity of each workstation in order to maximise operational efficiency, planning for safety is also hugely important.
Indoor mapping can help you to position each workstation and allocate employees to them. Instead of having to picture the office, store, or factory in your head, why not use a fully-interactive map where you can arrange and rearrange workstations as you please? Not only can placing workstations a sufficient distance away from each other reduce the likelihood of viral transmission, but it can also help you to plan for other potential health and safety issues such as trailing cables, hot liquids, and potentially dangerous machinery.
Monitor occupancy and distancing
Planning a workplace with effective distancing between employees has applications for safety even after the current global pandemic. In addition, distancing planning does not end at the drawing board (or interactive floor plan). Distancing, as well as all other aspects of health and safety, need to be consistently monitored.
Indoor mapping can help you to keep track of distancing in real time, and monitor which workstations are currently occupied and which are not. If you are in the hospitality industry and running a cafe, bar or restaurant, you can even use mapping to monitor which tables are occupied by customers. Once tables are no longer occupied, you can see this on the floor plan and immediately sanitise the area in preparation for the next occupants!
Mark "No-Go" areas
Contact tracing has been an important tool for public safety during the pandemic. The potential applications of contact tracing do not end with the vaccines, however. In future, organisations can use indoor mapping to identify areas which may have been contaminated with other viruses, or with potential biohazards or other safety issues.
Whatever reason a workstation or other area of a workplace may need to be marked as potentially unsafe, identifying no-go areas can be much easier using indoor mapping solutions. More advanced solutions can even notify employees of which areas to avoid!
Which industries can benefit most?
Two industries that are especially likely to benefit from these applications are construction and manufacturing. Potentially dangerous machinery can be marked and monitored to make sure employees do not inadvertently come into contact with it!
However, the potential health and safety applications of indoor mapping technology are extensive across all industries, and not limited to any single one. If you are planning a workplace, doing some research into indoor mapping is highly recommended.
Copyright 2021. Article was made possible by Kathleen Yates of My Ally IT.