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Can Apps Help Us Get Back To Work Safely?

Can Apps Help Us Get Back To Work Safely?
14 May 2020 | Updated 26 May 2020

With construction and manufacturing employees now being "actively encouraged" to go to work by the government, how is the mobile app industry responding? 

In an address to the nation this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a “conditional plan” to reopen society and encourage certain groups back to work.

As employers navigate this new ease of lockdown measures, we take a look at some examples of mobile apps that might help with this transition. 


Crowd Solo – crowd management


For larger businesses or facilities managers who run buildings with high occupancy, crowd management strategies are changing. 

“The need for safe crowd management will be around for the foreseeable future, meaning workplaces will have to adapt and learn to operate differently in order to give employees peace of mind and confidence to return to work,” explains Stuart Edgington, Director of Data & Analytics Innovation at Holovis.

They have developed a new social distancing and facilities optimisation app, claiming to help employees stay safe and alert whilst supporting businesses in making their workplaces more COVID secure. The app incorporates social distancing proximity alerts, crowd management notifications and real-time insights into ways relevant people are moving around a facility.


Crowd Solo


Picture: A graphic showing the Crowd Solo app

Crowd Solo works by all employees downloading a secure app to their mobile device which is then used to organise, direct and monitor their movements throughout the designated environment. All the data is collected and analysed in real-time creating an exact picture of the business eco-systems behavioural activities.

Audible and vibration alerts notify people when at risk of violating the safe two-meter distance rule, with real-time heat maps showing when hotspots are forming, so people can effectively plan their day. This could include staggered arrival and departure times to canteen access and different building locations.

A booking function allows food and beverages to be ordered in advance from onsite canteens and time slots allocated for safe collection. A reservation system allows staff to book meeting rooms and working areas for portions of the day and surface cleanliness visualisation shows when locations were last cleaned to ensure that this is being maintained between users.


Construction industry helpline – mental health and wellbeing


According to the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, two construction workers take their own life every single working day, and stress, anxiety and depression currently accounts for a fifth of all work-related illness.

The current challenges of COVID-19 mean that workers in many industries require extra support and reassurance, particularly as the gradual return to work begins. Throughout the lockdown, many employees have been under immense pressures relating to income, family issues and of course, managing the return to work safely. 

The charity is already helping to drive significant change through a variety of mental health and wellbeing support programmes – but realise that there is still a long way to go before the culture in construction removes the stigma about talking about mental health and wellbeing. 

By providing a free app, which can be downloaded by anyone in the industry, they hope to combat this. The Construction Industry Helpline app will provide information, advice and guidance about how people can relieve the long term effects of stress, anxiety or depression as well as providing access to other areas of support such as anger management, drug and alcohol dependency, debt management, legal advice, and emergency financial aid.

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity explains how moving to an app-based support service can help them to reach more people:

“We recognise that not everyone feels comfortable talking about their feelings or personal situation, so the ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ app is aimed at people who would like to find out more information about how they can perhaps help themselves or if necessary, take the next step in seeking professional help.  

“It is a preventative tool and provides support at the initial stages of a situation so that the problem does not reach a life critical stage.”


Mo:dus – tracking symptoms


“Now is the time to offer employees reassurance that employers are doing everything they can to protect their teams. The app allows organisations to harness valuable data to inform the right behaviours for the good of everyone.”

– James Bradley

Director, Churchill Group


Protecting the work community by reducing the spread of the virus is something on every employer’s mind at the moment. Monitoring signs and curbing the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace will play a crucial role in reducing the risk of transmission.

To this end, Churchill Group has launched a COVID-19 symptom tracker app via Mo:dus, the soft service provider’s digital platform. 

Through the app, employees are encouraged to submit any symptoms on a daily basis via a simple step-by-step process. The app will then share self-isolation government guidance. This will ensure that those showing symptoms related to COVID-19 either stay at home or seek medical support, which is an essential step in reducing the risk of transmission in the workplace and therefore a localised outbreak.

The Mo:dus symptom tracker app has been designed as a way to protect a work community by reducing the average number of people that one infected person can expect to pass the coronavirus on to, known as the R value.  This mission underpinned the development of the symptom tracker. 

James Bradley, director at the Churchill Group, said:

“The ethos of Mo:dus is to create transparency and aid our working lives, and this new COVID-19 symptom tracker app will help everyone to protect the wellbeing of colleagues, family and friends, and support organisations’ back to work plans.

“Now is the time to offer employees reassurance that employers are doing everything they can to protect their teams. The app allows organisations to harness valuable data to inform the right behaviours for the good of everyone.”

Picture: A photograph of a smartphone, with a person hovering their hand above it

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 14 May 2020


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