If 2020 was the year of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, 2021 will be the year of the modern, hygienic workplace. As more people come back into offices, technology will be critical in ensuring a safe workplace. Shared spaces such as printing locations, recreation areas and meeting rooms will all need to adapt to these new challenges.

There are several areas where we feel that technology will play an important role:


The most effective method of keeping your workplace hygienic is to ensure that unwell people cannot enter in the first place. Many locations have installed temperature scanners to entry points that will alert when those displaying symptoms attempt to enter.

These systems have been leveraged globally in airports and customs since the SARS epidemic in 2002. Since then, costs and speed have dramatically improved, making this technology affordable for all organisations. 

Whilst screening will pick up people displaying symptoms; it is not 100% effective. Any screening should be linked to your sign-in systems, ensuring that should there be a COVID incident, everyone affected can be notified quickly. Australian companies, such as AerVision and Qright have proven workplace solutions in this area. 

Minimal Touch Environment

As part of the new normal, surfaces need to be wiped down and sanitised frequently, especially in shared work and meeting areas. More recent Print and Unified Communication solutions require less physical interaction than older systems, which results in cleaner common areas. For example, the ability to stream content directly from your device, or release your printing with an RFID card, minimises the surfaces your team touches. 

Embrace BYOD and Mobile Devices

Minimising physical contact necessitates people in the office not sharing technology devices and peripherals. Many organisations adopt a Device as a Service program to give each staff member the device they need. Others are moving to adopt a BYOD model, where staff bring in their own devices to use. Both models have their advantages, and your technology partner can recommend the right approach for you. Staff should never share peripherals such as tablet styluses.

Sanitise Frequently

Your business areas need frequent cleaning; however, your shared spaces need sanitising several times a day to keep your team safe. Limiting the number of shared spaces, then rigorously keeping these clean is the right approach. For example, many organisations have multifunction printers scattered throughout the building. Moving to modern, high volume machines would allow them to have fewer printers and fewer locations to worry about supporting. We would recommend that all organisations review their Managed Print Service to adapt to the new normal.

Crowd counting is another technology that can aid in maintaining a safe work environment. Crowd counters are motion tracking sensors that utilise artificial intelligence to track crowd movements through a building. Leveraging these would allow building staff to direct cleaning and sanitation efforts to where they are needed.

Social Distancing and Hygiene

Keeping a minimum safe distance from others is a great way to minimise virus spread, and technology can support this. Crowd counters can send an alert if too many people are in a shared area such as a kitchen or meeting room.


Until the entire population is vaccinated, there is no silver bullet measure to render your team 100% safe. Upgrading to low-touch print devices, reducing recreational areas, and increasing cleaning of meeting rooms will help ensure a safer workplace. These steps should be included in a multi-layered approach that reduces physical contact and increases sanitation without getting in the way of working effectively.