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Lobbies Go Virtual to Make a Safe First Impression


High-tech office lobby
Image: alhim -
A lobby can say a lot about a workplace — while broken-down tables and a messy assortment of outdated magazines can convey a sense of disorganization, for example, a state-of-the-art waiting area with virtual check-ins and high-definition displays can indicate that a company cares about being on the cutting-edge. And these days, a high-tech lobby might also show that a company is placing a premium on the safety of employees and guests.
While we focus a lot of WorkSpace Connect coverage on the innermost part of the office, we’d be remiss in overlooking the lobby. Not only does the lobby serve as a first impression to anyone who enters, but it also has gone through its own evolution during the pandemic. Like the office interior, many workplaces have embraced various technologies to boost contract tracing and ensure employee safety.
Most notably, many workplaces have gone contactless for guest and employee check-ins and have developed procedures to screen anyone who enters the building.
For virtual check-in, companies can choose among a variety of options. Start-up The Receptionist, for example, offers software that provides a way for guests and employees to sign in via an Apple iPad touchpad or completely contactless via QR scanner. Not only does the software provide virtual check-ins, but it also supports contact tracing and provides integrations with common enterprise tools and apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Active Directory, Slack, and more.
Similarly, popular video meeting provider Zoom has a virtual receptionist/kiosk mode in beta testing. Once this feature is available, IT will be able to customize a start button on a Zoom Touch device to allow building guests to connect to the receptionist, Zoom said. Additionally, Zoom is working on Zoom Rooms with Alexa for Business capabilities; details are sparse, but I take this as a sign that voice-enabled check-ins may be forthcoming, too.
For health screening, temperature scanners are plentiful. These include handheld options and more high-tech solutions like Wello’s automated, touchless temperature station. Additionally, some workplaces have gone one step further and have deployed sanitization devices like Healthe Entry, which uses UV light to sanitize anyone who comes into a space. Healthe’s portfolio also includes similar products for open areas and a portable device for sanitizing smaller spaces.
Of course, even as companies add high-tech touches to deliver safety-first messaging to employees and guests entering their lobbies, they can still use these spaces to convey other corporate ideals. This holiday season, I saw an example of this in a recent social media photo highlighting a company’s annual toy drive. The photo, taken in the company’s lobby, featured toys piled on top of toys piled on top of toys — more toys than employees. The message was clear to anyone who entered the office: We care.