Electrical Industry Group Shares eBook On Limiting Touchpoints In Buildings

Powering Chicago, the voice of the unionized electrical industry in and around Chicago, highlights technologies to create "The Contactless Office".

Powering Chicago, the voice of the unionized electrical industry in Chicago and suburban Cook County, has made available an eBook highlighting a variety of technology modifications that can be implemented at commercial properties to limit touchpoints in the office and generally make the environment safer for reentry as tenants return to the workplace. The eBook is available for free download here.

Designed as an informational resource for owners, managers, and tenants of commercial properties, “The Contactless Office” eBook includes an overview of technology solutions that can be installed in a wide variety of commercial properties to limit opportunities for virus transmission by reducing common touchpoints. Implementation considerations are included for each technology featured in the eBook, helping those developing reopening plans determine what modifications can be applied to meet their specific needs.

touchpointsExamples of technologies that can be retrofitted at existing commercial properties or installed during new construction to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases include:

  • Thermal camera screening systems that passively monitor for elevated body temperature among all those who pass through the area;
  • Germicidal ultraviolet lighting;
  • Air filtration and HVAC controls to automate the process to circulate external air through the building, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested is one way employers can help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in enclosed spaces;
  • Touch-free light switches, restroom fixtures, and elevator controls;
  • And automatic doors, among others.

“Absent a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, a widespread return to the workplace requires a broad evaluation of how office spaces have traditionally been set up and a plan to modify the environment in ways that minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection,” said Powering Chicago Director, Elbert Walters III. “With technology, we can create a largely contactless work experience for employees and install systems that help building managers more efficiently control the environment they’re responsible for maintaining.”

Though the full impact of the pandemic cannot yet be determined, recent studies indicate that a permanent shift away from traditional work environments is unlikely. According to a Cushman & Wakefield study published in June 2020, personal connections and bonding are suffering as a result of remote work, particularly among younger employees. Additionally, a separate study completed by Gensler in May that surveyed more than 2,300 U.S. employees found that just 12% want to work from home full-time.

“There’s a strong desire by everyone right now to get back to a more normal day-to-day work experience, and applying the technologies highlighted in our eBook is one way to help move Chicagoland toward the achievement of that goal,” Walters said. “While this alone cannot eliminate the possibility of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, those responsible for planning a return to commercial properties should be considering these modifications as important elements in more comprehensive strategies to minimize the risk of reopening.”

To learn more about technology solutions provided by the unionized electrical industry that can be deployed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to download the eBook, visit the Powering Chicago website.

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