Gary Harrold, Managing Director of Swiss Post Solutions UK & Ireland, looks at four ways technology can support front of house exceed post-pandemic expectations.

It’s no secret that the world of work has changed irrevocably since the outbreak of coronavirus. For many, the traditional nine to five office is a relic of the past. As our latest research shows, the majority (97%) of medium and large companies say their organisation’s use of office space will change post-pandemic.

Four in ten said this meant adopting a remote working model, doing away with centralised office. However, 44% felt that while remote working would be encouraged or expected, office spaces would still play a vital role - becoming central hubs for meetings and other company activities.

This means that front of house services will become even more critical in providing a positive employee and visitor experience. To deal with this, half of UK companies plan to introduce interactive technologies and increase their use of partners to meet these new expectations.

Based on our latest research, here we explore four ways in which technology is revolutionising front of house and how you can use it to ensure your organisation lives up to expectations.

Delivering a pandemic-aware pre-

arrival experience It’s no surprise that ensuring the health and safety of staff, guests and visitors through enhanced hygiene and safety protocols are top of the front of house agenda. Top of the priority list? Ensuring the health and safety of visitors and employees (67%) and maintaining hygiene protocols (38%).

To support this, the vast majority of businesses (88%) have, or will implement the requirement for visitors to complete a pre-arrival health questionnaire to support COVID-19 protocols. Nearly half say this is already in place.

How the pre-arrival process is managed is vital. Among the most pertinent considerations are user experience and data protection - both which can be solved by the effective use of front of house technologies. Digital systems can create a seamless experience before, during and after the visit, that is not only simple and secure, but helps ensure the safety of all users.

Setting safety expectations pre-arrival doesn’t just demonstrate a proactive approach to safety. Delivered digitally, as part of a comprehensive pre-arrival package the experience is elevated beyond form-filling, to a service-first function.

Front of mind in the remote

working revolution Even pre-pandemic, working patterns were shifting to embrace more flexible models. For example, John Lewis


has now adopted a hybrid model where employees will be able to spend two days in the office and three working elsewhere, for example at home.

With this in mind, the role of front of house and guest services is set to expand even further. Now, it is expected that they will help manage office spaces in whole new ways. For example, managing desk spaces and accessibility.

Technology will play a huge role in ensuring back to work is safe, and that employees have access to the space they need. For example, desk booking systems can run advanced bookings. Not only that but pre-arrival health questionnaires can set parameters for desk booking and can even bar individuals from the office on a failed questionnaire.

“Half of UK companies plan to introduce interactive technologies and increase their use of partners to meet these new expectations.”

Front of House stays in control with automatic cleaning notification for desk once booked out and occupancy levels automatically monitored and warnings given at pre- defined loading levels.

Meetings that exceed expectations As we’ve touched on, the office will become a place to meet, congregate and build face-to-face relationships. In a post-COVID world this is much needed, but also presents challenges. How can front of house play a role in ensuring productive meetings that also meet safety protocols?

Here technology can play its part; from touch-free kiosks for self-service room book-ins to meeting room management systems that automatically in-built downtime between meetings to allow deep cleaning. Right now, technology for front of house and guest services delivers three-fold; minimising physical risks, automating

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