Bringing Trust to the Workplace

Bringing Trust to the Workplace

Global health crisis demands ever-changing environment, public health guidelines

As businesses and governments enter a new era of workplace safety, two prerequisites are preparedness and the ability to pivot quickly. Widely adopted access control, authentication, Internet of Things and other trusted identity offerings have long been the cornerstones for protecting people, places, and things, and now they also provide the foundation for safely and confidently re-opening and sustaining operations at workplaces during this global pandemic.

FACING THE CHALLENGES

HID Global faced the same challenges as many other organizations in returning its employees to work. The first step was to develop a strategy and comprehensive playbook, as well as processes for communicating to employees in a time of rapid change. These elements serve as a single point of truth that help guide the safety and security of employees while ensuring operations continue to run smoothly. Developed with inputs from multiple sources within the organization, the Return to Workplace playbook provided clear recommendations and reassurance for site leaders and all employees, and support for customers in an ever-changing environment as new information emerged and public health guidelines evolved.

Providing a “single source of truth” was particularly important, based on and aggregating information obtained directly from site leaders about their regional situations. These Site Readiness Teams established minimum requirements for all sites to include daily reporting. A site readiness tracker was established, and communication was established with each site lead to ensure everyone was keeping abreast ever-changing restrictions and modifications of government COVID-19 orders.

In HID Global’s case, all products and services are deemed essential to customers in the health, medical, food and government sectors. It was critical that manufacturing and fulfillment sites continue to operate. Readiness teams also knew that health and safety would be at the forefront of employees’ minds. It was essential to anticipate very real emotions and valid concerns. Also important was looking ahead and painting the ‘next’ normal for employees by defining and providing reassurance about the new behaviors that would now occur in a familiar place. The playbook provided this reassuring clarity.

Each site had the space and autonomy to adjust their sites according to individual needs, but they all concentrated on four core areas: protection, cleaning, messaging and distancing. For protection and distancing, HID Global turned to its own product and solution portfolio.

Site-specific distancing guidance was provided related to face-to-face meetings and the time and spacing constraints if one had to meet this way, as well as greeting practices, dining habits and managing mail and package deliveries. The guidelines also covered activities related to meeting rooms, personal offices and workstations Site leaders also concentrating on how they could reconfigure assembly stations and other density- management challenges. Ongoing focus areas include ensuring compliance in cube arrangements, traffic flow pattern design and management, and the use of plexiglass and other barriers for ensuring separation.

PUTTING THE GUIDELINES IN PLACE

With these separation guidelines in place, HID then applied its own technologies to automate the process of compliance. Having the scale to create a complete, identitybased chain of trust in what people are permitted to do, and where, has given HID the agility to rapidly develop complete, endto- end solutions for supporting work safety initiatives. There are two key components: • Dynamic Workplace Safety – Cloud-based visitor management, remote employee and visitor badge issuance, and fully touchless access solutions reduce person-to-person contact. Rule-based physical distancing management provides immediate insights and alerts to keep employees compliant with safety and sanitation requirements. • Automated Rapid Response and Compliance – Automated visitor compliance, contact tracing, physical distancing, and hygiene behavior removes the burden of tracking new health and safety procedures.

HID piloted its solutions with 200 essential workers soon after public health distancing guidelines went into effect. The solutions were deployed across a diversity of physical environments from the manufacturing floor to cubicles, lunchrooms and lobbies. Each employee was given a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) fog on a lanyard that, using peer-to-peer capabilities, provided auditory behavioral feedback when it entered the recommended six-foot physicaldistancing range and remained for a specified time period. Simultaneously, this data was sent to the cloud for analysis and location information to identify where the incident took place within the building.

As an alternative to fobs, the same capabilities can be delivered using a badge/ badge holder that is easily added to existing ID cards. In either case, there is a full digital trail of an employee’s whereabouts and historical interactions while at work. Fobs can be issued not only to employees but also to visitors and contractors. Employers define distancing policies and alert parameters for mitigating an infection outbreak per public health guidelines, and zones can be created with geo-fences around high-traffic areas (breakrooms, hallways, lobbies) to minimize large congregations of people.

PLAYING A KEY ROLE

The solution also plays a key role when someone tests positive. With a click of a button, detailed reporting enables contact tracing using historical data on movement and interactions. This triggers safety protocols based on reporting that includes a chronological list of all the times two people were in the same zone or had a distance incident. The facility can assess the risk of each employee exposure and minimize disruption as it rapidly responds to cases and activates isolation procedures as needed.

The HID Global pilot revealed much about employee reactions to the global health crisis. They generally wanted to be part of something that could have a tremendous impact on the worldwide workforce. Their participation in the pilot also revealed how best to implement guidelines while also creating the optimal experience for employees. Additionally, the pilot underscored how an IoT ecosystem can quickly scale and adapt to the dynamic requirements of hospitals, manufacturing facilities and enterprise organizations. Real-time time monitoring and analytics capabilities can help ensure compliance with a number of other safety requirements, such as hand hygiene policies and other regulations introduced as part of the “next normal.” At the same time, organizations can leverage their investment in these IoT solutions beyond today’s global health crisis, since they lay the foundation to easily add even more IoT applications-- all of which can be centrally managed on a single platform.

This article originally appeared in the January / February 2021 issue of Security Today.

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