COVID-19 in 1.9 Minutes: how to track and contain incidents with Archibus Health and Safety

The first step that a company should take when encountering exposure to COVID-19 (coronavirus) is to report the incident and contain it as quickly as possible. The WMA strongly recommends that clients use the Archibus Health and Safety application for this step, because it was built for reporting health and safety incidents to the proper managers and personnel as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What is Archibus Health and Safety? Which features can help my organization?

The H&S module provides facilities professionals with the ability to track workplace incidents, create work requests around these, alert employees to preventive measures being practiced by their organization, and report to any regulatory organizations that need to be notified.

One of Archibus’ core strengths is that it is designed with inter-connectivity in mind. Inputting data in the initial “Report an Incident” feature within Archibus H&S will lead the user to more detailed views and actions, like automatically filling out OSHA forms, generating a service request ticket, or updating the medical monitoring status for an employee. In this way, your organization can put an emphasis on workplace safety and safety management, keeping employees healthy and at ease.

Report an Incident

Show the importance of health and safety in the workplace, and report important details of a health or safety incident. Track the date, where it took place, and who was involved: this can include employees and non-employees, such as delivery people, visitors, animals, etc.

Users can also identify the incident category. Categories can be as general or specific as your organization chooses. Something like “coronavirus” is quite specific. Users can also provide an incident description, such as “showing signs of the coronavirus”, “diagnosed with the coronavirus”, “high temperature”, etc.

Learn how to report a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident with Archibus (Environmental) Health and Safety.

Track an Incident

The report form discussed above is really intended to lead users into more detailed actions in the module, mostly under the “Track Incident” feature. This feature uses the general incident information from the report and takes it to a greater level of detail through various views. It also allows users to take important action within their organization’s workplace safety management plan. Some particularly useful actions are:

  • viewing incident details initially entered in the report.
  • redlining the location of the incident.
  • generating a service request.
  • entering any medical responses to the incident.
  • filling out and attaching documents associated with the incident, such as OSHA forms.

This is an especially useful feature for managers who will be overseeing incident responses, preventive measures, and aftermath procedures.

Learn how to track and add details to an already reported COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident with Archibus (Environmental) Health and Safety.

Incident Details

This displays the initial details of the incident from the incident report form and lets users add more details about the incident, such as:

  • the specific time it took place.
  • which manager was involved.
  • who recorded the incident.
  • injury code.
  • whether a chemical or substance was involved.
  • activity before injury, or (what task an injured employee was performing before they were injured).

Watch the video below at 00:30 to see an Archibus Health and Safety software demonstration of Incident Details.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to view and edit incident details for a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Site Information

See where the incident took place, and, if necessary, indicate the location with a redline on your organization’s drawings so others, such as craftspeople, janitorial staff, managers, and employees, can view its location. Users may submit the redlined drawing as an incident document so it appears with other attached documents. Follow environmental health and safety guidelines by maintaining clean facilities that are up to standards.

Watch the video below at 1:14 to see an Archibus Health and Safety software demonstration of Site Information.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to view and update site and facilities information related to a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Medical Information

Enter and track any medical information, such as whether anyone was admitted to the emergency room or hospital, which facility they went to, who their attending physician was, and any medical results, such as full recovery, still recovering, or death. Further medical monitoring is possible under “Incident Response”.

Watch the video below at 2:09 to see an Archibus Health and Safety software demonstration of Medical Information.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to view, update, and track medical information related to a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Incident Response

Located under “Track Incidents”, “Incident Response” is an essential step in the incident reporting process. From this view, several important actions can be taken, such as generating a service request ticket, additional medical monitoring, and assigning work restrictions. This is arguably one of the most important features in ARCHIBUS Health and Safety.

Watch the video below at 2:39 to see an Archibus Health and Safety software demonstration of Incident Response.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to track a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident response.

Medical Monitoring

Additional medical monitoring in H&S can promote safety awareness and lets users input and track how long someone will be monitored, assigns a tracking number, and update the status of the individual or any test results that may be pending.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to track a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident response.

Work Restrictions

Assign special work restrictions to individuals, such as “working from home” in the case of the coronavirus. Set a time period for the restriction, track how many workdays were lost, and determine whether the restriction is temporary or permanent. Help everyone how to improve safety awareness in the workplace.

Watch the video below at 4:09 to see an Archibus Health and Safety software demonstration of Incident Response.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to assign work restrictions such as “working from home” to employees who have been affected by a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Employee Training

Assign a training program for employees to strengthen your organization’s workplace safety program. In the case of COVID-19, users may wish to assign an employee a hand-washing class, a training on hygienic practices while sick or to prevent sickness, or provide a program to teach people best practices to prevent to sickness. Record when the training was completed. Help employees learn how to create a safe and healthy workplace.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to assign training programs, such as “hand washing class” or “preventive measures” to employees who have been affected by a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Metrics

Create metrics that will appear on your Health and Safety dashboard around any statistics or data your organization desires to track. Show, with real data, the importance of health and safety in the workplace. This could be days of work lost, employees who are working from home, how many cases of the coronavirus have occurred within the organization, and much more. Help decision makers learn how to improve health and safety performance by creating alerts that will send out emails or notifications to key people or the entire organization. Metrics and alerts are completely customizable to each organization.

Watch a software demo on Archibus Health and Safety homepages and metrics that can help track a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

Incidents Map

View a global portfolio on an interactive map of where and how many times incidents of the same type have occurred. This is a quick and effective way to find specific details about where health and safety incidents have taken place, how many have occurred in the workplace within certain floors, rooms, buildings, campuses, etc.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to view how many COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incidents have occurred across your entire real estate portfolio on maps and floorplans.

Incidents Log and Pre-formatted OSHA Reports

Under the Incidents Log, users can leverage the data already entered for an incident to automatically fill in an OSHA report form, utilizing the role of the Government in industrial safety.

Watch an Archibus Health and Safety software demo on how to view the incidents log and automatically fill out OSHA forms for a COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other workplace health and safety incident.

The WMA has seen great success from our clients who use this module, and we hope that your organization, too, can discover how to improve health and safety in the workplace by leveraging the powerful features in the ARCHIBUS Environmental Health & Safety module. If you have more questions, we are available to demo the software. Contact us to find out more about the H&S module, find ideas to promote safety in the workplace, and bring your organization’s work environment to full health!

Get to know the Workplace Maven Alliance.

The WMA collectively has 150 years of experience in Archibus, AutoCAD,  IWMS, and CAFM solutions. We are a group of certified Archibus business  partners who are committed to finding the best solution for our clients. Formed in April of 2020, the alliance consists of:


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SpaceIQ bought by Archibus + Serraview

On May 13, 2020, Archibus + Serraview announced its acquisition of the company SpaceIQ. SpaceIQ’s application is well-known in the IWMS world and is provided to many companies, both large and small.

According to the Archibus + Serraview blog post,

“…SpaceIQ provides mid-market companies with easy-to-use tools to access data across the entire enterprise that optimize space use, meeting room coordination, workplace moves, and asset management. Archibus + Serraview serves thousands of customers worldwide with software that manages a wide array of real estate needs—from automating space bookings to re-organizing vast property portfolios.”

This will provide an even larger opportunity for Archibus clients and IWMS users to expand their use of IWMS.


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COVID-19 in 1.9 Minutes: the nine stages of how to track coronavirus in Archibus.

If you’d rather watch a video than read an article, click on the icon to watch the full video on our YouTube Channel.

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The Workplace Maven Alliance (WMA) is excited to be starting our new Knowledge Series, “COVID-19 in 1.9 Minutes”. Today’s article is an introduction to the series and will give the audience the following:

  1. A broad overview of the content that will be covered.
  2. How the WMA has broken up the coronavirus into three main stages and nine steps within that.
  3. A quick description of each stage, each step, it’s Archibus application, and why that application is beneficial to a company.

Our purpose in this series is to demonstrate how Archibus is the only IWMS that can comprehensively track every stage and step in the process of responding and recovering to a coronavirus incident in any organization. Because of its well-established customization capabilities, it can mold to any need an organization may have. This allows it to be the IWMS that can answer that can track any and all stages of a health and safety incident, no matter how an organization decides to split up the stages.

We’ve decided to split up coronavirus reporting, responding, and returning stages into nine steps that we think every company will experience when preventing exposure to the virus. Every solution in the steps discussed can be accomplished with a standard, out-of-the-box, no-customization-required Archibus license.

An infographic of the nine stages most companies experience when encountering a COVID-19 related incident or taking preventive action against COVID-19.
The nine stages, according to the WMA, that a company may experience when encountering a COVID-19-related incident.

Report.

The steps in this stage are the steps taken in the initial phase of being exposed to coronavirus, or taking preventive action to stop its spread.

1. Report the incident with Environmental Health and Safety.

Let’s say that someone in an organization starts showing symptoms of the coronavirus during the workday. What is the organization’s health and safety management plan? Is there one in place, or does one need to be created? How are all stakeholders in the incident going to be notified of the response protocol so every safety step is executed?

Archibus Environmental Health and Safety allows incident management personnel to answer these questions, relay necessary safety information, and inform all stakeholders as quickly as possible upon reporting an incident. The application allows staff to create a report and fill in basic and granular information about the incident:

  • where and when it took place
  • any assets that were involved or affected
  • the type of incident (in this case coronavirus)
  • who was affected by the incident
  • who responded to the incident
  • what the response was
  • medical information and tracking
  • employee training for future incidents of this type

The strength of Archibus Environmental Health and Safety in this step is integration and connectivity; the software will pull in existing data—such as employee and location data, asset information, work order management, and more—to make the reporting process faster, easier, and more accessible to essential, key players.

What’s more, this application is currently free. Visit the landing page for more details, and talk to your Archibus provider to learn how to implement.

A quick overview of Archibus Environmental Health and Safety and how it can help organizations report health and safety incidents.

2. Disinfect the premises with Building Operations.

Once an incident has been reported, immediate action needs to be taken to take care of any consequences from the incident—in the case of COVID-19, a thorough disinfection of any affected areas.

Archibus Building Operations provides comprehensive capabilities for properly responding to incidents instantaneously. Using this application allows users to complete actions such as:

  • Automatically generating a work request to clean the area.
  • Sending a work request through the proper Service Level Agreement (SLA) to either speed up the completion process or guarantee that it gets the proper permissions.
  • Responsive/mobile functionalities for instant update on work order status, records, schedules, and more.
  • Creating location-based preventive maintenance schedules and procedures so that a location is cleaned and disinfected regularly, meeting any organizational or governmental requirements.
  • Keeping a record of cleanings and maintenance procedures for inspections.

Leveraging the cause code within a work request allows users to quickly indicate whether a work request is related to a COVID incident without having to write a detailed description of such. We highly recommend this feature because it reports can be generated from this data, allowing an organization to understand how many incidents have occurred that are related to COVID-19.

A feature that we have found sometimes gets under-utilized is the reference documents. This can be used to provide a standardized process for carrying out work orders, such as disinfecting and cleaning, so quality is maintained, and health and safety can be certain.

A quick overview of Archibus Building Operations and how it can help organizations respond quickly to incidents with automatically generated work requests.

Respond.

This stage involves the steps that allow an organization to take appropriate measures in keeping their employees safe and healthy.

3. Track remote employees with Emergency Preparedness.

Archibus Emergency Preparedness provides users with features to take appropriate preventive action, whether or not an incident has recently occurred. Pertaining to the COVID pandemic, some use cases we’ve found that Archibus excels at are:

  • Tracking an employee’s previous location in the workplace and whether they are assigned to work from home.
  • Using bulletins to notify when a building has returned to usability.
  • Determining who has evacuated and who hasn’t, should an evacuation, whether gradual or immediate, be necessary.
A quick overview of Archibus Emergency Preparedness and how it can help organizations execute preventive action plans.

4. Deliver employee assets with Enterprise Asset Management.

Archibus Asset Management tracks how many assets an organization has, in what condition they are, where they are located, who uses them, and much more. In the context of the coronavirus, this application can be a game-changer by:

  • Ensuring that remote employees have a complete and ergonomic setup in their at-home offices.
  • Whether your organization already has the equipment needed to supply at-home work spaces.
  • Understanding space utilization for future reporting.

Space utilization can come into play here, as it is connected to the asset and employee that is being tracked.

A quick overview of Archibus Enterprise Asset Management and how it can help organizations provide on-site and remote employees with ergonomics assets, access to websites, hardware, software, and more.

5. Survey for compliance with Compliance Management.

The next application, Archibus Compliance Management complements Asset Management extremely well in the context of COVID-19. Compliance Management can help users determine and maintain employee health and safety while they are working from home.

The application uses surveys to take the assumption out of determining whether remote employees have access to necessary equipment, such as:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Ergonomic chairs, desks, stands, keyboards, mice, etc.
  • Access to necessary servers, websites, and other remote locations.

Users can also send instructions to remote employees to ensure that they are taking care of themselves, such as:

  • Taking proper breaks.
  • Drinking enough water.
  • What type of ergonomic equipment they should invest in and why.
  • Virtual meeting tips, equipment, and software.

Surveys are extremely flexible. Users can customize all questions, response types, documents and instructions within a survey, as well as the geographic locations that will receive it or affiliation with a specific organization, should this be necessary. Senders can then view summary reports to understand how certain questions were answered, giving greater insight into an organization.

A quick overview of Archibus Compliance Management and how it can help organizations, through surveys, understand better the needs of their workforce, staff, and employees.

Return.

The following steps will aid an organization in executing their recovery plan so everyone can return to full productivity, whether that be with a restack of all facilities and a larger percentage of staff working from home than before, or a complete return to the original setup before COVID-19.

6. Redesign your space with Strategic Space Planning.

Much discussion has revolved around the fact that the new “normal” in the workplace may be slightly different from what employees are used to. Organizations may want to continue to practice social distancing, which requires floorplate restacking. Many organizations have also found that, not only does having remote workers cut down immensely on costs, but that their staff are just as effective when working from home, oftentimes more so.

Archibus Strategic Space Planning offers scenario planning which allows users to create floorplan schemas in AutoCAD without changing or editing the existing floorplate. Common changes organizations make include:

  • modified furniture
  • tenant improvements
  • rearranged furniture
  • reassignment of spaces between divisions, departments, etc.

Strategic Space Planning excels at:

  • Identifying space requirements by:
    • number of people
    • total area
    • types of rooms
  • Automatically running scenarios based on specific requirements, like the ones above, allowing organizations to maintain portfolio requirements for the next three-to-five years.
  • Analyzing a portfolio and determining the types of space an organization owns, which are being completely used, and which have space to use. For example, let’s say an organization owns a space that is a warehouse for two months out of the year, but is left empty the other 10 months. Can an organization leverage that space, cut costs, and even save money?

In our experience, the Archibus Space Planning and Management module can play a large role in this step because it tracks things like occupancy, allocation, and chargeback, which are key factors when redesigning and restacking your space. This encompasses about 80% of the requirements of going back to work.

A quick overview of Archibus Space Management and Strategic Space Planning and how these applications can help organizations restack their space to comply with social distancing.

7. Reduce footprint with Portfolio Management.

Real estate is usually the second biggest expense for an organization. How does an organization reduce its portfolio for cost savings while restacking floorplans to maintain social distancing? Archibus Portfolio Management gives an organization a detailed view into their real estate portfolio so strategic, cost-saving decisions can be made. Hand-in-hand with Strategic Space Planning, these two applications can help organizations determine exactly where they can save money by re-using or re-organizing space, leasing or subleasing space, buildings, and campuses, and much more. Some features that the application provides are:

  • Global Portfolio dashboard, which will summarize portfolio and lease costs by geographic location, types of space (such as office, warehouse, manufacturing, etc.
  • Cost Reporting, which will summarize and predict how much money an organization spends on real estate so they can forecast the next three to five years and achieve financial and space goals together.
  • Create custom metrics within Archibus to build what-if scenarios.
  • Use category and type to understand how you can reduce your area footprint, sublease, sell, reconfigure, or repurpose.
A quick overview of Archibus Portfolio Management and how it can help organizations understand their real estate portfolio, where to reduce, where to expand, and how to save money.

8. Manage change with Project Management.

Archibus Project Management allows organizations to organize and execute the space planning and portfolio projects discussed above: restacking and repurposing space, changing floorplates, and moving divisions, departments, and business units for cost effectiveness. Project Management allows users to:

  • set up bid packages
  • send bid packages to contractors
  • track the bid
  • select a bidder
  • track project progress with Gantt charts

This application shares information with Archibus Capital Budgeting. All the information for the basic steps of a project—identifying a project, detailed analysis, building out tasks, milestones, determining a team, initial baseline costs, and design costs—can be linked back to the capital budget. The application will then help managers determine what tasks need to be addressed first, the budget for each task, and where any remaining budget can be allocated.

Condition Assessment projects can also be bundled up in the same process above in Project Management, run through Capital Budgeting to define cost parameters, and then executed and finalized in Project Management.

Archibus Environmental Sustainability Assessment and Archibus Clean Building also integrate well with this application to help organizations manage any COVID-19 related building projects by project priority and cost.

AutoDesk has released many applications and plugins that complement this application well. Talk to your Archibus provider for more information about this.

A quick overview of Archibus Project Management and how it can help organizations manage their space planning and restacking projects as their workforce returns to the workplace.

9. Re-occupy your space with Enterprise Move Management.

Provides flexible solutions for returning to the workplace and maintaining social distancing; for example, instead of completely restacking a floorplate, an organization could decide to have every third desk enter the workplace on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, rotating employees on those days until the pandemic is resolved.

Other phase approaches are possible and limitless. Many organizations have discussed the idea of only having 25% or 50% of their on-site workforce returning to the office space.

Archibus Enterprise Move Management makes this phase approach effortless by:

  • Creating flexibility by allowing the user to manage single and group moves.
  • Recording moves and changes through tickets.
  • Scheduling moves by generating work order tickets.
  • Coordinating all involved groups in the move process.
  • Mobile/responsive functionality for verifying staff’s assigned locations.

Archibus Reservations can add functionality by allowing users to create windows linked to work orders between moves and room usage for routine disinfecting to take place.

Archibus Hoteling will also let users stagger hotel space usage; for example some hotel spaces, spaced out for social distancing, could only be available during Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while others could be available Tuesday and Thursday to allow a disinfection period.

Returning to the Strategic Space Planning step we discussed above, the scenarios created in the Space Planning application can be migrated into a Move Management project. One click of a button will make this scenario into a move project, saving users time, money, and energy.

A quick overview of Archibus Enterprise Move Management and how it can help organizations create, manage, execute, and complete single and group moves.

Get to know the Workplace Maven Alliance.

The WMA collectively has 150 years of experience in Archibus, AutoCAD,  IWMS, and CAFM solutions. We are a group of certified Archibus business  partners who are committed to finding the best solution for our clients. Formed in April of 2020, the alliance consists of:


Like what you read? Subscribe to the blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to keep up to date with the latest news from RSC, LLC.
Thoughts? Questions? Comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your insights.

13 Tips for Staying Focused During a Virtual Event or Meeting

RSC is proud of the fact that we are a virtual company. We’ve been working from home for 20 years and have seasoned expertise to share with the world during this time of social isolation and distancing. For more tips on working from home, check out our previous article, 12 Tips for Working from Home.

Join our #work-from-home open Slack group to get more tips and have a social outlet!

At this point, everyone knows that large masses of people across the world are working from home in a preventive measure against COVID-19, or the coronavirus.

Alongside the hot topic of working from home is the topic of virtual meetings. How do you get the most out of a virtual meeting? What are the best virtual meeting techniques for engaging participants and attendees? How are virtual meetings conducted? What do people do to stay focused after a long day of working from home, a lot of meetings, and/or a particularly long web event?

Our staff has 20 years of experience to share with our readers and clients on these subjects, and, generally how to improve virtual meetings. Below are our practiced techniques that we use on a daily basis to help us get the most out of our virtual workplace.

1) Invest in multiple computer monitors.

Moving back and forth between multiple windows can take time and focus away from a meeting. Use one monitor to keep needed information—such as a web browser, detailed notes, an excel spreadsheet, or more—at your fingertips while displaying the meeting on the other.

Using multiple monitors or screens can help you find information quickly during virtual meetings.

Another solution for keeping a lot of information visible during a meeting is to connect your laptop with an HDMI cord to a computer monitor. Some of our staff have found that, when screens need to be displayed, displaying your screen from your laptop and putting others’ displayed screens on your monitor helps keep everything readable.

2) Invest in some essential, RSC-recommended equipment.

There are a couple pieces of equipment that RSC staff swear by for our meetings. This equipment helps keep us comfortable and focuses our attention towards the topic(s) at hand.

A desk or computer tray that lets you stand.

Virtual meetings are a great time to stand up and stretch your legs, which will help you stay attentive if you’ve been sitting all day. Standing up periodically can also help energize you for the rest of the work day, as well as being good for your joints and muscles.

Noise-cancelling headphones.

Noise-cancelling headphones are essential for virtual meetings.

High-quality, noise-cancelling headphones keep out the sound of that experimental band next door, plus any other unexpected distractions, like kids, pets, construction, etc. Exceptionally powerful headphones drown out all sound entirely, creating a tunnel-focus effect and allowing you to concentrate.

3) Take notes and create a task list.

A general meetings best practice, take notes and create a task list for yourself from your notes. RSC uses many tools for taking notes, like post-its, excel spreadsheets, Word documents, text editors, and more. Find the tool(s) that work best for you and stick to that system so your notes aren’t scattered.

The Effectiveness of Post-it note-taking vs. using Word Docs

While both post-it notes and word docs can be great virtual meeting tools, they both have their pros and cons. Using Post-it notes, or sticky notes, can be very effective for creating your task list. Their mobility allows you to quickly and effectively prioritize and re-prioritize, like so many of us have to do if a project takes a turn of direction. Using sticky notes in a notebook keeps them organized; using them around your computer makes them more visible.

Find the most effective method for taking notes that allows you to share them with coworkers.

That being said, while Post-its are great for your own personal task list, they may not be the most effective solution for when you need to share your notes, or have a log of what you’ve been doing. For this, RSC prefers to use a Word doc and its many professional features. Word has a plethora of organizational features like tables of contents, graphs, and heading styles to keep your notes organized. They can be good for sharing between smaller groups of people, but if updates to the doc are being made by many people, a document sharing and editing service might be more effective.

4) Speak up during meetings.

Don’t let the fact that you’re hidden behind a screen, and your coworkers can’t see the non-verbal cues that you have something to contribute, limit you from making comments on where you can help. Virtual meetings can be daunting because of this, so practice speaking up in meetings if that is a challenge you face.

5) Create and contribute to an environment that fosters watercooler banter.

Be yourself during meetings and use appropriate moments to get to know your colleagues better.

Having a healthy balance between focused, goal-oriented discussion and goofy, light-hearted banter is extremely important for the health of an organization, no matter the type of work environment. While on virtual meetings, it can be tempting to start out the meeting with everyone muted, waiting for the organizer, project lead, or overseer to start the meeting. Use this time, or any other time that may be appropriate, to banter with your coworkers, and don’t be afraid to be yourself during the meeting and make friendly chat or harmless jokes. Even playing some virtual team meeting games could be a helpful tip on how to make conference calls more interactive.

6) Don’t multi-task. Actively listen. Ask questions.

An essential tip for any meeting type and for virtual meeting etiquette, resist the urge to work on other projects or tasks during your virtual meeting. Choose to be present. This will ensure that you are getting the most out of your time and can contribute to the effectiveness of the meeting.

Come prepared to your virtual meetings by opening any tabs and checking that your software is working.

Many organizations using virtual meeting software often wonder how to engage remote meeting participants. Leaving open the list of attendees on your software so you can see everyone’s name can help you think of ways to engage everyone. Look to ask questions to all the participants, if the group size allows. Asking questions and encouraging conversation have been proven time and time again as some of the best practices for virtual communication. Read more tips about this, and virtual meetings in general, at an article we found from “CIO from IDG”.

7) Come prepared.

Take five minutes before the meeting and make sure that your virtual meeting software is working properly. Audio and screen sharing can be some of the first features to stop working if your internet connection is bad, so test these out before logging onto the meeting. If your internet connection refuses to cooperate, take a few minutes to find a spot where it is working.

Open any documents, tabs, visual aids, etc. that you may need for the meeting before it starts. This will reduce lag time, which will minimize distraction.

8) Have something to fidget or doodle with.

If you’ve had a lot of meetings, or are getting to the end of the day when it’s hard to focus, having something to fidget with during a meeting can help direct that energy into something else so you can focus. Some people prefer the infamous fidget spinner, while others opt for something more sophisticated, like a fidget cube. These are both inexpensive on Amazon. If you don’t want to spend any money, a pen or pencil also works just fine.

Speaking of pencils, while a lot of taboo surrounds doodling during meetings, sometimes light, minimally-involved drawing can help you focus while you’re not directing the conversation. Cartoon characters, geometric shapes, or abstract line art can be effective shapes to draw.

9) Change locations periodically.

One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is that it can feel mundane very quickly. Changing locations for meetings, or even periodically throughout the day can help stave off this mundane-ness. Working by a window can give you some sun and add interest as you watch what’s going on outside. Working in a more secluded spot can help you focus all your energy into one task. Evaluate how you’re feeling and what you need to focus in that particular moment.

10) Be honest with yourself and choose spots in which you know you can focus.

Be honest with yourself in choosing work locations. Not all of us can focus while in bed.

For some people, this could be a desk, while for others it might be the giant bean-bag on the ground. This could even change depending on the type of meeting. Work sessions might be great to take sitting cross-legged on your bed, while meetings with clients might be better to take at a desk. Whatever the spot may be, be honest with yourself and make sure that you can focus in it.

11) Make sure your at-home workspace is the perfect temperature.

Before signing on, check the thermostat of your meeting space. There may not be an opportune time during the meeting to change it if you get too cold or too hot, and temperature and climate can be some of the quickest ways to get distracted during meetings.

12) RSC loves caffeine.

If your health allows for it, caffeine can be a great way to stay focused. This can be in the form of energy drinks, soda, or coffee, which are recognizably not the healthiest solutions, or you can buy caffeine to add to water or any other preferred drink.

If you prefer to not drink caffeine, cold or favorite drinks can help you stay awake. Also, making sure that you eat regularly throughout the day will help you stay awake and focused, instead of thinking about how hungry you are.

13) RSC also loves naps.

In our last article, 12 Tips for Working from Home, we mentioned that taking frequent breaks can help you stay alert and ready for a full work day. One of RSC’s favorite activities during these breaks is taking naps. If you didn’t sleep well the night before, or you’ve had a particularly full or challenging work day, this can be a great way to recharge and keep on going. Even if your workday has been the same as any other, naps can be a nice mental break to keep you going. Taking one a little before your meeting can help you not think about anything you might be over-thinking or not looking forward to.


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12 Tips for Working from Home

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Join our #work-from-home open Slack group to get more tips and have a social outlet!

Considering the potential increase of the coronavirus, many companies are encouraging–or even requiring–their employees work from home. Working from home can be a difficult transition if you are not used to it: housemates can be distracting. The couch can look oh-so-comfortable, and a 20 minute nap can easily turn into an hour and 20 minute nap. Working from home can seem like the perfect opportunity to get the honey-do list completed and chores that have been piling up can look enticing. The list of readily-available distractions could continue for miles.

We understand the challenges that can come with working from home: RSC is a virtual company. This means that we have no physical office space, so every employee works from home, and we have 20 years of experience and tips we’ve collected on creating an ideal work environment in your home. Below are our staff’s first-hand recommendations. We hope you find them useful!

1) Create a “Work Only” space.

An image of a home office by a scenic window.
Create a comfortable, yet distraction-free, work space.

Aside from helping you focus on work instead of binge-watching “Frasier”, setting up an area at home that is “work-only” can signify to others that you are working and shouldn’t be bothered. Additionally, it helps you de-stress once work is over, because you can mentally “put work away” and fully enjoy the rest of the house and activities that are going on.

2) Set office hours and stick to them.

An image of a home office with a computer, notebook, and other accessories on a desk.
Stick to your office hours.

Treat work hours like sacred time. Set a schedule–it helps to keep your at-home hours the same as a usual nine-to-five workday, or whatever is typical of your organization–and don’t vary from these. Don’t justify that a 45-minute run to the store won’t effect your schedule too much. Don’t let distractions like kids, peanut butter cookies on the counter, or playing with your pets pull you away from your focus.

3) Schedule meetings for mornings.

Leaving the beginning of the work day for meetings is a great way to stay focused throughout the day, because you now have a task that helps you know what you need to accomplish. It also helps motivate you to get out of bed and work instead of pushing your schedule back and procrastinating the work day.

4) Match your work hours to the schedule of your housemates.

An image of a woman wearing glasses at a desk working on a computer. She is smiling and is in an art studio with paintbrushes.
For a distraction-free workspace, work at the same time as the people with whom you live.

Maintaining the same working hours as the people you live with is a great way to enjoy your time off once work is done. It minimizes distractions so everyone can have a quiet environment to work in and doesn’t step on each others’ toes. 

5) Take frequent breaks.

Standing up from the computer is important not only for your posture, but also for your mental health. Getting up frequently and taking a stroll around the yard or house will help you keep a fresh attitude towards work and cut down on the mundaneness of working from home. Some of our staff hold to a strict “get up every hour” rule.

6) Schedule “Leave the House” time.

An image of a dog laying under a desk and office chair while someone in blue jeans, sitting at the desk, works.
Schedule a time to get out of the house and stretch your legs.

Schedule a time to get out of the house and detach from work. Usually, this would include activities like going out to lunch, working out at a gym, or taking a yoga class, but with the stay-in-place mandate applicable to most of us, this principle looks a little different right now. Going for a walk or drive can be great substitutes for this. If you have a garden or yard, walk around it. Even using technology like a wii could help you get in the mindset that will help you de-stress from work and clear your head.

7) Schedule your meals.

On the topic of breaks, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the “I’ll just do one more thing” mentality and forget to eat regular meals. Scheduling a specific time for your meals can help you keep a consistent schedule, maintain energy for the work day, and reinforce taking frequent breaks.

An infographic with RSC's twelve tips for working from home listed.

8) Get ready in the morning just as if you’re going to work.

Dressing the same way you would for the office can help you mentally get in the zone to work, separate your “work-only” space from the rest of the house, and keep you focused on tasks: even the rote, mundane ones. Changing clothes once you’re done working into lounge-around-the-house attire helps you relax and separate even more from the office.

9) Don’t go straight to your workspace in the morning.

An image of a home office in a bedroom with calendars on the wall, a surfboard leaned against the wall, and a small shelf.
Refrain from sleeping right up until your work hours in order to get a few more minutes of sleep.

Give yourself time to ease into the day, enjoy the morning, and prep for work just like you would any other day. Let your house be your house for a little bit before you go into work mode. This, just like many of the previous points, will help you separate the spaces between work and home so you can de-stress after work.

10) Use a headset or noise canceling headgear.

Minimize distractions by using a quality, noise-cancelling headset for when you’re in meetings or listening to music to stay focused. You won’t be able to hear anything that may want to distract you. You’ll be able to  focus well so the day relatively flies by.

11) Invest in equipment to help your posture and joints.

An image of a supportive desk chair by a wood desk with a computer on it.
Invest in supportive equipment for your home office.

Giving your body good support will help make your at-home office comfortable. It’s not worth it to ruin your back, neck, hands, wrists, etc. while working. Some essential pieces to consider for your home office may be:

  • Supportive chair with adjustable height
  • Adjustable-height computer stand for sitting and standing
  • Keyboard for carpel tunnel
  • Mouse for carpel tunnel
  • Footrest
  • extra back support

12) Take advantage of some creature comforts, but not too many.

An overhead image of a woman sitting with her legs outstretched on a bed or couch, working on a computer.
If sitting on the couch helps you focus, then take advantage of that. But don’t use so many creature comforts that you can’t focus.

If you work better with some background noise that you wouldn’t usually be able to put on in the office, then put on some music or white noise. If you have a favorite window to sit by, or a favorite spot in your house, then set up your workspace in that area. If you have a favorite coffee, tea, or beverage that you don’t usually get at work, then pour yourself some of that.

Creature comforts can easily infringe on the “Creating a ‘Work Only’ Space” idea discussed above. It’s easy to surround yourself with too many. Determine which ones and how many help you stay focused and which ones don’t.


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How ARCHIBUS can track and contain Coronavirus (COVID-19) incidents through Environmental Health and Safety

Everyone has been hearing about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic these past few weeks in the media, at work, and almost everywhere public. Many organizations are taking important health and safety measures in the workplace to prevent any contact with the virus. Some daily workplace safety tips that employees have been encouraged to follow are:

  • work from home.
  • wash hands frequently.
  • limit physical contact with others.
  • use hand sanitizer after coming in contact with others.

With the potential for the coronavirus to spread and affect large numbers of people, RSC offers a way, through ARCHIBUS, to track and contain health and safety incidents. You and your organization can promote health and safety practices in the workplace by providing a forum through which to create and follow a safety improvement plan. This forum is ARCHIBUS’s Environmental and Risk Management domain, which contains the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) module. This module is designed with the intent of promoting health and safety measures and practices in the workplace.

A screenshot of the redline feature in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety with a video symbol to indicate that it is linked to a video tutorial.
Watch a video on how ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety can help your organization isolate, track, and respond to health and safety incidents during the coronavirus.

What is Environmental Health and Safety? Which features can help my organization?

The EH&S module provides facilities professionals with the ability to track workplace incidents, create work requests around incidents, alert employees to precautionary measures being practiced by their organization, and report to any regulatory organizations that need to be notified.

One of ARCHIBUS’s core strengths is that it is designed with inter-connectivity in mind. Inputting data in the initial “Report an Incident” feature within ARCHIBUS EH&S will lead the user to more detailed views and actions, like automatically filling out OSHA forms, generating a service request ticket, or updating the medical monitoring status for an employee. In this way, your organization can put an emphasis on workplace safety and safety management, keeping employees healthy and at ease.

Report an Incident

Show the importance of health and safety in the workplace, and report general details of a health or safety incident. Track the date, where it took place, and who was involved: this can include employees and non-employees, such as delivery people, visitors, animals, etc. Users can also identify the incident category. Categories can be as general or specific as your organization chooses; for this example, we used the “coronavirus” incident type, which is quite specific. Users can also provide an incident description, such as “showing signs of the coronavirus”, or “diagnosed with the coronavirus”.

The report form is simple and straight-forward and is intended to lead users into more detailed actions in the module, mostly under the “Track Incident” feature.

A screenshot of the Report an Incident form in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety “Report an incident” form. Associate employees and non-employees, locations, date, and incident type.

Track Incidents

The “Track Incident” feature uses the general information from the “Report an Incident” form to take the report to a greater level of detail through various views. It also allows users to take important action within their organization’s workplace safety management plan. Some particularly useful actions are:

  • viewing incident details initially entered in the report.
  • redlining the location of the incident.
  • generating a service request.
  • entering any medical responses to the incident.
  • filling out and attaching documents associated with the incident, such as OSHA forms.

This is an especially useful feature for managers who will be overseeing incident responses, preventive measures, and aftermath procedures.

Incident Details

This displays the initial details of the incident from the incident report.

A screenshot of the Incident Details view in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
View the initial incident details that were entered in the incident report in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Site Information

See where the incident took place, and, if necessary, indicate the location with a redline on your organization’s drawings so others, such as craftspeople, janitorial staff, managers, and employees, can view its location. Users may submit the redlined drawing as an incident document so it appears with other attached documents. Follow environmental health and safety guidelines by maintaining clean facilities that are up to standards.

A screenshot of the redlining capabilities  in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety allows facilities professionals to redline on their organization’s drawings where the incident took place so craftspeople, janitors, and other employees are aware and can properly execute their roles.

Medical Information

Enter and track any medical information, such as whether anyone was admitted to the emergency room or hospital, which facility they went to, who their attending physician was, and any medical results, such as full recovery, still recovering, or death. Further medical monitoring is possible under “Incident Response”.

A screenshot of the Medical Information feature in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Input any important medical information related to the incident in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety, such as whether the associated person(s) went to the hospital or emergency room, which medical facility they went to, and who was the attending physician.

Incident Response

Located under “Track Incidents”, “Incident Response” is an essential step in the incident reporting process. From this view, several important actions can be taken, such as generating a service request ticket, additional medical monitoring, and assigning work restrictions. This is arguably one of the most important features in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Maintenance Requests and Tickets

An essential step in any hazard management program is maintaining clean and regulated facilities. From the incident response view, users can generate a service or maintenance request ticket that automatically associates itself with the location and incident category/type entered in the incident report.

A screenshot of the Generate Service Request option in Incident Response in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Generate a service request from the location information already input in the “Report an Incident” form in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
A screenshot of a generated service request, leveraging location data, in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Create a Service Request in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Medical Monitoring

Additional medical monitoring in EH&S can promote safety awareness and lets users input and track how long someone will be monitored, assigns a tracking number, and update the status of the individual or any test results that may be pending.

A screenshot of the Medical Monitoring view in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Assign a time period to and regularly update a medical monitoring status in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Work Restrictions

 

Assign special work restrictions to individuals, such as “working from home” in the case of the coronavirus. Set a time period for the restriction, track how many workdays were lost, and determine whether the restriction is temporary or permanent. Help everyone how to improve safety awareness in the workplace.

A screenshot of the Work Restrictions feature under Incident Response in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Record and apply any temporary or permanent work restrictions to employees associated with the incident in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Employee Training

Assign a training program to an employee or employees to strengthen your organization’s workplace safety program. In the case of the coronavirus, users may wish to assign an employee a hand-washing class, a hygienic-practices-while-sick class, or provide a program to teach people best practices to prevent to sickness. Record when the training was completed. Help employees learn how to create a safe and healthy workplace.

A screenshot of the Employee Training feature under Incident Response in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Assign a training program or class to employees and record when the program was completed in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Metrics

Create metrics that will appear on your Environmental Health and Safety dashboard around any statistics or data your organization desires to track. Show, with real data, the importance of health and safety in the workplace. This could be days of work lost, employees who are working from home, how many cases of the coronavirus have occurred within the organization, and much more. Help decision makers learn how to improve health and safety performance by creating alerts that will send out emails or notifications to key people or the entire organization. Metrics and alerts are completely customizable to each organization.

Incidents Map

View a global portfolio on an interactive map of where and how many times incidents of the same type have occurred.

A screenshot of the world map view in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Track the global occurrence of incidents with a map view in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

Incidents Log and Pre-formatted OSHA Reports

Under the Incidents Log, users can leverage the data already entered for an incident to automatically fill in an OSHA report form, utilizing the role of the government in industrial safety.

A screenshot of an automatically filled OSHA report in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.
Generate automatically filled OSHA reports from the data previously entered in an incident report in ARCHIBUS Environmental Health and Safety.

RSC has seen great success from our clients using this module, and we hope that your organization, too, can discover how to improve health and safety in the workplace by leveraging the powerful features in the ARCHIBUS Environmental Health & Safety module. If you have more questions, we are available to demo the software. Contact us to find out more about the EH&S module, find ideas to promote safety in the workplace, and bring your organization’s work environment to full health!


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Scott Baird, highly experienced programmer, joins the RSC team.

In line with the company’s trend for excellence, RSC welcomes versatile and experienced programmer, Scott Baird, in a time of growth at the company.

June 2019, San Ramon, CA—Scott Baird’s experience is highly welcomed at RSC. The company is in a period of advancement and growth due to staff changes and continual efforts to expand their audience. Scott’s strengths both contribute to this time of growth and support the company during this process. 

Scott Baird
Scott Baird

With a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from MIT, Scott Baird has a long career in the IT field. He has focused on software development and data analytics, filling various management roles for the past 12 years. Most recently, he served as Product Manager for Cyberscience, a business intelligence software company. Prior to that he was Director of  Database Architecture at both Connekt Inc, an interactive TV ad platform, and Delivery Agent, an e-commerce company specializing in the entertainment industry. He was also both a Senior Manager and Director of Software Engineering at Delivery Agent.

Scott is excited to join RSC and for the opportunities that await. He is looking forward to contributing to the technical and client services at RSC.

RSC is grateful for Scott’s expertise and talents!

RSC is an IWMS company that has been consulting with clients to produce workplace solutions for 20 years. RSC is a value-added re-seller of the world-leading application ARCHIBUS.


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Conversations with Todd: What is your favorite ARCHIBUS feature?

Transcript:

Todd: I like the flexibility of ARCHIBUS. Anything you want it to do, it can do. It comes with a lot of stuff out -of-the-box, but if you’ve got a report that you need to write, or a capability that you need to build, it can be used for that.


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Conversations with Todd: How do you measure success?

Transcript:

Todd: I guess I measure success by use. Like if I build something and people use it, especially if they’re using it three years after I build it, that’s success. If I build it and they don’t use it, eh, it didn’t go so well.


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Conversations with Todd: How can clients leverage ARCHIBUS the most?

Transcript:

Todd: I think taking it carefully. So, I think that one of the big mistakes people often make with IWMS and lots of other systems is that try and do too much at one time. So they bite off more than they can chew. I think that a really smart approach is to take it a little bit at a time and outline what you’re going to try to accomplish with the first wave and work really hard to get that right and once you’ve got that going, think about what’s going to come next.

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