Using Sensors To Create Cleaner, Safer Workplaces

by Mike Petrusky on May 28, 2020
Using Sensors To Create A Safer, Cleaner Workplace

As companies make plans to return to the workplace, cleanliness and safety are among their top concerns. They’re also concerned about the costs of managing additional cleaning and sanitizing.

Most workplaces are returning and planning to return at reduced capacity. Many are also shifting away from assigned seats in favor of free address or reservable workspaces, which can make it difficult to know which spaces actually need to be cleaned each day.

Sensors take the guesswork out of this equation, enabling more efficient, cost-effective cleaning based on actual use.

We recently hosted a webinar with one of our sensor partners, CoWorkr, to share more about how it works.

In case you missed it, you can watch a recording here or check out the highlights below.

How Is Coronavirus Changing Facility Maintenance?

In response to concerns about coronavirus, many companies are updating their cleaning protocols to include:

  • Obtaining special certifications through an agency like the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for deep cleaning
  • Using hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize workstations
  • Increasing cleaning frequency
  • Using advanced equipment, such as electrostatic sprayers or electrolyzed water

These additional measures can put a strain on janitorial services and facility management teams. It has become clear that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to cleaning no longer makes sense, CoWorkr CEO and cofounder Elizabeth Redmond said.

It can also be difficult for employees to know where to find a space that was recently sanitized, especially when shared spaces are becoming more common. Spaces that appear to be clean may still carry invisible threats.

How Do CoWorkr Sensors Work?

CoWorkr offers “hyper-versatile” sensors for all types of spaces, including workstations, phone booths, meeting rooms and even common areas. These passive infrared sensors are the size of a matchbook but powerful, with a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to five years. 

They collect high-resolution occupancy anonymously, which is then processed on the sensor device and stored in a secure cloud environment. The sensors leverage thermal technology instead of cameras, providing accurate information without collecting personally identifiable information. 

Use CoWorkr’s REST API for access to historical space utilization data. Or get live sensor updates with STREAM API. It pushes sensor updates every 2 seconds, making it the only occupancy sensor that can truly deliver real-time space utilization insights.

Their accuracy and versatility make them valuable for many different stakeholders, including real estate professionals, facilities management and workplace experience leaders, as well as helping to reassure employee and visitor end-users, said Keenan May, CoWorkr CPO and cofounder.

How Does Sensor Data Optimize Cleaning Services?

Facilities managers or workplace leaders can view an activity report of CoWorkr’s sensor data to help them determine which spaces need to be sanitized daily or even hourly.

They can view daily sensor data using an app or export it into a PDF and can set up cleaning intervals for a customized timeframe, based on demand.

They can even receive alerts for real-time space occupancy or historical data. For instance, they can set up an alert to notify them when meeting rooms reach 50% occupancy.

Soon, they will also be able to see sensor data within their floor plans, using an integration with iOFFICE’s space management software.

Using Sensor Data For Smarter Space Planning

Real-time sensor data is also valuable for space planning purposes. As more companies adopt an agile work environment, they are using sensors to help employees find and reserve available workspaces, optimize their office design and plan for the future.

In our webinar poll, 36% of participants said they were using space utilization data to help manage their workplace. Another 27% said they hoped to use it in the near future.

Obtaining this data used to be difficult, and when you could, it was often low resolution. That’s all changing, thanks to our integration with CoWorkr. Now, data collected by CoWorkr sensors can be used for faster, more accurate updates to utilization data in iOFFICE’s Hummingbird app and Reservation module.

In fact, the Hummingbird app is the first employee experience app to fully integrate STREAM API live sensor data. Connecting with your Reservation module, the sensors quickly capture utilization data for both your reservable or non-reservable space (such as a break room or kitchen).

With Hummingbird app, employees can make well-informed choices based on the live sensor data. For instance, if an employee needs to book a meeting room, instantly seeing room availability makes the choice easy. Leaders can use data captured from high-traffic areas, crowded hallways, building occupancy limits, and more to make important workplace decisions.

Our team is working closely with CoWorkr and other sensor companies to make the valuable data they collect more visible and actionable. Our Space-Right™ physical distancing feature is one of many tools that workplace leaders can use to strategically plan and optimize space in a scalable way. 

Watch the webinar to learn more, and stay tuned for more updates.


Mike Petrusky

Mike Petrusky is host of the “Workplace Innovator Podcast” and Director of Events and Growth Marketing at iOFFICE. He joined iOFFICE in March of 2018 with a mission to energize the company’s live events. He is a dynamic speaker, podcaster, and seasoned marketer who has a passion for sharing iOFFICE’s unique brand of thought leadership to CRE & FM leaders in the digital workplace.

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