A COVID-friendly workplace? Yes, there’s an app for that.

The New York Times is out with an article that details new workplace apps that are designed to make the return to work easier. 

  • In the Chicago Loop, 15 companies in an office tower known as 77 West Wacker began using the TranswesternHub building app from Cohesion in June. Rosalyn Griffin, an office manager at Rothschild & Company, an investment bank with offices there, can use her phone for simple tasks like submitting repair orders or getting notified when visitors have arrived, which gives her more freedom to leave her desk.
  • “We don’t have to rely on each business getting information out to their staff,” said Annie Panteli, head of operations at 22 Bishopsgate, a 62-story office tower in London’s financial district that opened in 2020. Bishopsgate worked with Smart Spaces to create a custom app for the building.
  • Building apps also offer the ability to monitor the use of conference rooms, cafeterias and parking lots in an effort to improve operations. This data collection is part of the larger move toward “proptech,” an approach to real estate that allows companies to track how many people are in different parts of a building, which can help save money on heating, cooling and lighting in unused areas.

The article also cited challenges that the apps present such as real or perceived threats to employees’ privacy and questions about how much data is being collected and monitored.