Two keys to the 2021 office: is your office ready?

Chances are that you are working – and reading this – from home at the moment. And that you will be working from home the coming period, at least a part of the week. As professors and experts confirm in both the national (Dutch NOS) and international (BBC) media: from now on, workweeks will be different. And so will your office.

The 2021 office

According to large employers, working from home has not decreased productivity and it is experienced positively by employees (NOS). It looks like working from home for two, three or even four days a week will become the norm, also in the long-run. The result: fewer employees on the floor (simultaneously), smaller offices and subsequently less costly office space to be rented by companies. Experts (NOS, BBC) state that the office will become more of a place for meetings, inspiration, socializing and collaboration. However, to effectively facilitate this, your ‘office of the future’ must meet two requirements.

Flexible office usage

The first requirement for a future-proof, post-lockdown office: flexibility. On different days, different people will make use of your office and its facilities. Not only should allocation of working desks be arranged more flexibly, the same holds for access to the office.

Who do you grant access to, and when? To prevent overcrowding, granting access to specific people on specific weekdays should be possible in a flexible way. So you have control over how many people can enter your office at the same time.

“To prevent overcrowding, granting access to specific people on specific weekdays should be possible in a flexible way. So you have control over how many people can enter your office at the same time.”

Also, how could you easily grant access to that new employee that will come to the office for the first time? Or to a business relation that comes to visit? What about that one colleague who always forgets his card the only time a week he comes to the office? As you need someone physically present at the office at all times to activate a card and hand it over, the use of cards is not very practical and flexible – nor is it very hygienic.

Contactless journeys

That leads us to the second requirement: hygiene. Employers want to provide their employees with a safe working environment and want to prevent becoming a source of contagion. Not only distance between people and working spaces, good cleaning and alcohol dispensers are needed, but also contactless journeys. In the BBC article an architect predicts: “vastly more automation in offices, particularly ‘touchless technology’ or ‘contactless pathways’ “.

Using face recognition

So, the office of the future needs two things: flexibility and hygiene. These requirements will be met in numerous ways, for example by reorganizing the office, instructing employees and making use of technology. As the BBC quotes, managing access using face recognition is an important part of this: “A camera, used for facial recognition, identifies her as a staff member and a security barrier opens. At no point does she touch anything. Laila is on a contactless pathway.” And not only does face recognition improve hygiene in this way, it also allows you to better control who has access, where and when.

The last step

Recent developments have accelerated the shift towards the office of the future. And it is impossible to imagine the office of the future without face recognition. So, what is holding us back from implementing it right away? The only thing is that the user must have complete control over his biometric data.

Luckily, at 20face we have developed an access management system with face recognition that is privacy proof and fully GDPR compliant. The user is in control: with the click of a button he/she can give permission to be recognized, or revoke it. This clears the road for large-scale use of face recognition, biometric access management and the office of the future.

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