How organizations can provide safe environments and smart spaces – part 1

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get back to the office? Many employers are eager to get their workforce under one roof. CEOs like Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon have announced their current remote workforce will soon return to the office either full time or in a hybrid model. The thinking is that face-to-face interactions result in clear communication and collaboration.

As more and more people are getting vaccinated, and with social restrictions being lifted, there is a pent-up demand from customers looking for face-to-face personalized services like banking, insurance, and wealth management. Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed financial services employers in December 2020. The result: 70% said they felt workers should be physically in the office at least three days a week to preserve a company’s competitive edge.

While the thought of returning full time sounds appealing to employers, many questions about creating safe environments remain, such as:

  • How do I keep my employees and customers safe?
  • Should everyone come back at the same time? What about a hybrid approach?
  • What is the best way to monitor workspaces to allow for social distancing?
  • How can we maintain security and compliance with a distributed workforce?

To help answer these questions, let’s consider a midrange banking services provider with a workforce expected to return to the office full time. In a follow up article, we will consider how a large corporate insurance carrier can provide a hybrid workforce environment.

Under one roof

As employees stream back to the office on a full-time basis, executives should be looking to provide three things: infrastructure and insights, branch and building safety, and cloud-based team support.

Infrastructure and insights

Financial services firms should provide reliable and secure connections with the latest Wi-Fi protocols and the fastest networking capabilities. Employees who have worked from home will appreciate the vastly improved experience back in the office, especially as they won’t need to keep sharing bandwidth with their children’s video games.

Additionally, employers can use networking insights to determine how branch infrastructure is operating for an improved employee experience. Some strategies include installing wireless access points with Wi-Fi 6 capabilities to optimize network visibility and traffic analytics. These insights can provide a drastic reduction in troubleshooting and allow IT resources to focus on the true cause of end-user frustration.

Branch and building safety

Even if all workers are in the office, health and safety protocols may require limited numbers of people in meeting rooms and common areas. Employers will want to evaluate these trends, including analyzing occupancy throughout the day for better on-site employee experiences. Providing video analytics can help intelligently maintain social distancing protocols, as would IoT cameras and sensors.

Cloud-based team support

Financial services teams often work in close collaboration. Employers should insist that their cloud-based solutions support their remote workforce and branch employees in order to collaborate safely. This may include secure policy controls that identify workers capabilities. To learn more about these and other solutions for financial services, read our e-book.


Michael Singer

Product Marketing Manager