An Italian App That Could Significantly Help with Pandemic Safety and Productivity
When I think of Italy, I tend to think about exotic cars. Still, during the COVID-19 pandemic, that country has done fascinating things to reduce employee exposure and increase productivity. The first thing I ran into was with Cisco’s CDA program and WebEx. This effort showcased an impressively fast pivot to working from home from the government in that, over a weekend, they had ceased in-person meetings and had moved a bunch of aging Luddites to work from home successfully. Expansions on this effort helped people in hospitals and retirement communities to safely stay in touch and even assist those in prison to talk to loved ones—lowering stress and the potential for exposure significantly.
This week I heard about PluriDesk, an application created by Plurimedia, an IBM partner, on the IBM Cloud to help with hybrid work at home plans during the pandemic to assure both safety and productivity.
Let’s talk about PluriDesk this week.
Many companies all over the world are struggling with the idea of employees returning to work. They know they can’t go back to full capacity in the office until a successful vaccine is widely distributed and used. Otherwise, they’ll have to shut down again or face significant employee losses due to sickness, lasting pandemic damage, and death.
Besides, whatever tool is used must consider changing regulations and changing recommendations on dealing with the virus. For instance, while the rule is that right now, the distance between masked employees should be 6 feet, increasing evidence of the virus’s ability to spread far greater distances suggests that guidance will change shortly.
To ensure that safety is maintained, what is needed is a dynamic way to assign workspaces to ensure proper spacing. The employees can get up and running quickly and safely. Finally, IT support is limited now, which accelerates the use of the cloud as a better choice than on-site resources.
How PluriDesk works is that an employee planning to go into work queries the application for available resources using their connected device. This process works any time of the day or night given it is an IBM Cloud application. The employee, if there is availability, is automatically assigned a workspace that is safe, socially distanced, and has the resources they will need to do their job. They then go to the assigned workspace, which is marked with a QR code. Scanning that code registers them to the workspace allowing the system to continue to socially distance arriving workers from the now working employees.
If an infection occurs, reports showcase who was where so that tracking and tracing could be rapidly implemented. Those close to the employee can get prioritized testing or be sent into quarantine depending on the rules and policies in place at the time. These reports give management a sense of who is coming in and working and who isn’t.
The application is designed to integrate with other applications that may help provision the workspace, schedule cleaning of the workspace once the employee has departed, and manages lighting and other services like HVAC to minimize waste and better assure site security.
When the maximum allotted space is taken, the employee is told before they depart for work, saving them a needless round trip. In short, the app is simple, effective and it just focuses on the job it needs to do, but through integration, can be part of a more comprehensive solution depending on the need of the unit deploying it.
PluriDesk is one of the first apps I’ve reviewed that is focused entirely on the world we now live in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The WebEx case I started with showcased the use of an existing tool to address a new problem. PluriDesk is one of the first new tools targeting the new normal. It isn’t the only one out there. It would be worthwhile to assess site needs during the pandemic and start looking for apps that can address those needs so that you can begin to formulate a comprehensive plan for bringing employees safely back to work and avoiding additional shutdowns.
The use of the cloud for this is the only sustaining requirement, and while the IBM Cloud may be uniquely focused on the needs of large business and government—which is likely why it was selected for this solution. In the end, though, this process starts with defining your needs during this pandemic and then looking for tools that already exist, and will interoperate, to address those needs for other entities like yours.
PluriDesk is one such solution; there are undoubtedly many more.