A successful #ReturnToWork strategy

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

In this post you'll find information about a use case for one of a more impactful projects where TableAir assisted a large organisation of 6000+ employees to start returning back to their office. We want to share how almost any company could apply same workspace strategy and #ReturnToWork in a fast and smart way.

One of our customers have implemented TableAir and provided an access to their 3 office buildings (18 floors) for 6000 employees with the initial desk availability of 30%. Meaning only roughly 1 of 3 desks are available to be booked. This helped them to maintain physical distancing while allowing employees to come back and enjoy their workspace since June 15th.

The available desk allocation will be increasing in respect to the changing situation and after analysing the demands coming from employees. The plan so far is to increase availability gradually from, 30%, 50% and eventually 100%.

So far more than 40 groups (for different employee and workspace groups) are helping people go back to the office. The groups functionality ensures that only those people who have permission to use certain desks can actually book them. Desks are also being cleaned every time after use. Contact tracing allows customers to backtrack the employee and provide a list of nearby users, so in a case an infected person becomes apparent a list of nearby people can be identified and provided to the management.

In the mentioned case an unfortunate event happened when one user became aware of infection with Covid-19, fortunately enough it was traced quickly and people who worked nearby for the last week identified. The event happened on Friday, entire floor was immediately locked, bookings on the entire floor were disabled and thorough disinfection of the floor performed. On Monday evening desks were made available for bookings again and people can now utilise sanitise and hazard free environment.

TableAir - Return to work

Also a very important aspect, when considering larger companies is corporate communication and brand awareness. TableAir is very flexible in that regard to adapt the visual system color scheme to match your brand guidelines.

Once the quarantine became a reality in spring 2020, companies across the world faced an unexpected challenge: how do you continue business with minimum effect to a regular work day. TableAir has been at the fore front of this challenge and assisted customers to handle their process and automate the transition. The result of this experience is a following strategy that we've combined into 6 simple steps:

  1. Remote work - it's important for companies to really enable a remote work policy, the remote work itself can be segmented into different levels, probably best described by Matt Mullenweg (founding developer of Wordpress) in his article here. Which level do you think your organisation is at?

  2. Workspace bookings - if the staff can book a desk before coming into the office, it means you're establishing a self regulating environment where users are able to allocate a workspace for themselves at a required time. They can do this only before coming to work and only on those workspaces that management has allowed to book.

  3. Safe distancing - it's an outcome of a regulated environment where management defines what level of occupancy % is allowed at the office. Let's say you will start with 30% occupancy, increase to 50% and gradually go back to 100% workspace availability (hopefully) while all of this is being done through workspace bookings, transition should be smooth and without many hiccups.

  4. Contact tracking - if the above 3 requirements are implemented successfully a contact tracking can also be achieved. Should there be an instance that a person get's infected, TableAir, as a data processor can filter the contact tracking data for your usage. You will decide should the colleagues that worked close to the exposed person will be asked to work remotely or should any other measures be taken.

  5. Sanitation - Once desk bookings are available you would usually get 2 states of workspaces: the workspace is either vacant or booked. With the smart workspace sanitation module enabled, the workspace will have a 3rd state. Indicating that it is vacant, however it requires to be cleaned. Either cleaner or employees themselves can clean it and mark as ready to use.

  6. Boost of the morale - all of the items above help you create a smart and efficient process for returning to work, however human beings are not a cold metal gears in a mechanism that needs to be brought back. Probably the most important part is encouraging people to be open and to thrive in their work environment. For that we have a couple of surprises for you down bellow the page.

After talking with facility managers and executives in regards to the current situation, TableAir found out that one of the following options are chosen most often:

  1. Extending time while a remote work policy is in effect;

  2. Installing plexiglass dividers to limit spread of germs within the office;

  3. Indicating some workspaces as non-available in an effort to comply with physical distance recommendations;

All options seams to work, however they either require investments into the physical environment or are built on a notion that this phase will pass. In our opinion, the most efficient and cost effective way to continue business as usual is using system such as TableAir, which allows you gradually open office up.


Another very important aspect is sanitation of the workspaces - companies that can handle this in an efficient and smart way will save facility management resources and will do it in a smart way.

The way this works is very simple. Normally in TableAir system there are 2 states of the workspaces - they're either vacant, in which case the workspace is indicated green, or they're currently in use, or booked, in that case it's indicated blue.

With the sanitation module enabled, the workspaces now have a 3rd state. After someone booked it and used it, instead of it becoming green=vacant, instead it changes the color to terracote color, indicating that the desk is free, however a sanitation is required.

There are a few ways how companies can mange the cleaning of the workspaces. The first one is the most simple = before a booking can be made a popup appears asking users to confirm if the desk has already been cleaned.

We also encourage the staff to clean themselves and for that reason a couple of new products are being introduced:

  1. A desk sanitising dispenser that can be installed into any desk.

  2. TableAir Light - a lightweight sit-stand desk that can be ordered via our online webshop at www.shoptableair.com

However, if you wish that only cleaning staff cleans the desk, you can do that by providing a NFC card and install TableAir sensors. See bellow how Traffic Light Circle might do the job fo you.

Traffic Light Circle

Just like a software only version, a 3 states of the indication are visible, the only difference is the way to change the state users must use their access cards.

3 Options are available:

  1. TLC - a simple circle LED indicator showing the desk availability

  2. TLC NRR - like TLC + with ability to scan NFC and RFiD cards

  3. TLC NRR Keypad - like TLC NRR + ability to control sit-stand desk height

The most important part

All the things mentioned above do solve the technicality of going back to work. How ever maybe the most important questions is how do you boost the morale of your staff and make going to work exciting again?

The answer is by focusing on positivity - putting an emphasis on what's good around us!

TableAir, being at the forefront of workspace innovation is providing a vision and products that does exactly that.

Wellness should be at a centre stage, and we are offering 2 products:

  1. Sit-stand desk program, encouraging people to