Safe Return to Work: Empowering Deskless Workers with Orion and IBM Watson

Intelligent Voice-First Platforms Automate Return to Work Protocols and Improve Employee Safety

There are standard safety protocols that we’ve come to rely on in the workplace. Emergency stairs, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and medical kits — these are standard measures we know we’ll have access to when we need them.

As companies plan safe Return to Work procedures, they will determine how to implement new protocols that reinforce safety measures like staying six feet apart or wearing a mask and personal protective equipment (PPE). Unfortunately, some of these new protocols may not come naturally — or at least not as naturally as knowing where to locate the fire exits.

However, this familiarity is what employers need to keep their employees safe during Return to Work. They need these new procedures and protocols to become as second nature as knowing how to find the emergency medical kit.

Return to Work protocols with Intelligent Solutions and Process Automation | Orion Labs & IBM Watson

Recognizing the Unfamiliar in Return to Work Processes

Implementing and following new safety procedures in the new COVID-19 reality is a business-critical priority for both employers and their employees. For many workplaces, this will include self-certifications or screening questionnaires that follow CDC guidelines. Examples of these questions include “Do you have a fever?”, “Have you been in contact with someone who may have COVID-19?”, or “Are you wearing your mask or PPE?”.

But how should companies implement this new protocol? High-touch common areas are now a contamination concern. New signage and directional floor tape can help, but humans become desensitized to these measures over time.

Employers need to consider new tools that go beyond manual processes in order to eliminate contamination (or complacency). They also need tools to ensure compliance, allow personnel to act or respond in real-time, and support the analysis of employee responses and behaviors.

The good news is that solutions to these problems do exist. Through Orion’s intelligent, voice-first communications platform that incorporates the power of IBM Watson, Return to Work bots or workflows help companies automate these new safety procedures that are becoming standard for Return to Work in the era of coronavirus.

Intelligent Solutions and Process Automation Prepare Workers for Safe Return to Work

Employers need modern tools that remind workers of the new protocols when implementing procedures for reopening facilities. With Watson’s advanced text analytics, Orion’s voice technology reinforces these new habits in real-time, all the time — avoiding the downfalls that come with fatigue or complacency.

There are several ways Orion and Watson achieve better Return to Work protocols:

Automated workflows for safety and compliance: Instead of requiring employees to fill out high-touch paper checklists, voice-first workflows trigger as workers enter a specific geofenced-area such as a worksite or office building. Voice workflows walk employees through health and safety questions and any additional safety protocols set by an HSE manager. New habits like continual use of PPE may not be second nature yet, but voice-first checklist capabilities serve as reminders so that these new habits become automatic — and less something people have to remember on their own.

Automated data storage: By adopting cloud-based technology with automated workflows and voice-first checklists, companies gain the ability to automatically transfer responses into the appropriate systems. This instantaneous, digital data transfer eliminates the need for manual information input.  It also allows for real-time, complex analysis and response to the data collected — all with the assured benefit of end-to-end encryption that protects employee health information.

Native language and translation capabilities: Adding Watson to Orion’s instantaneous voice-first communications tool means a seamless flow of information for employees in any language at any time. In Return to Work instances, Watson’s native language and translation capabilities ensure employees understand and accurately interact with voice-first checklists and protocols in their native languages, eliminating language-based miscommunications.

Social distancing reminders: Social distancing often feels unnatural. By deploying Orion’s always-on, intelligent platform, workers receive reminders triggered by heat mapping to social distance anytime they encounter another worker less than six feet away. This data can even be stored and used for analysis and contact tracing protocols if required.

Intelligent, voice-first platforms streamline and automate new Return to Work protocols with real-time, gentle reminders.

Business Intelligence Can Better Equip Companies for Return to Work

Orion and Watson reinforce and encourage compliance while also providing organizations with a wealth of new data from the tools outlined above.

Employees often fill out the same checklists every day, but unless HSE managers regularly enter that data into a computer, the data is not meeting its full potential to provide management with actionable information. This gap means companies are leaving opportunities for operational efficiency on the table. However, cloud-native Orion and Watson natural language understanding and text analysis services provide access to actionable data and can identify patterns that will keep employees safer.

In the case of Return to Work, companies that rely on intelligent platforms also have access to data around clustering and heat mapping. Organizations can identify high-traffic areas and set up new protocols to keep track of when there are too many people in one place or even ensure cleaning crews have covered an area before employees enter.

Quantifiable data from intelligent tools like Orion will ultimately empower organizations to keep their workers safe with insights into task-related habits and compliance with safety measures.

Voice-First, Business Process Automation Solutions Save Time, Reduce Errors, and Keep Employees Safe

Orion and Watson offer the real-time, ever-present communications and process workflows needed as companies plan for Return to Work.

Intelligent, voice-first workflows save time, reinforce new habits, and reduce errors inherent in manual processes. The added business intelligence also helps employers manage new protocols, trace exposure, and monitor employee density.

By creating workflows that remove the burden of remembering protocols from the employee, new intelligent processes automate compliance procedures and allow workers to focus on the job at hand. Together, Orion and Watson can make deskless workers safer and more productive at their jobs by giving them access to the real-time communications and information they need.

Learn More

Learn how Orion’s voice-first, intelligent platform can help your workers Return to Work safely here.

Learn more about IBM’s Watson Works here.

Greg Albrecht is Co-Founder and CTO at Orion Labs. John Walicki is CTO, Global Technology Advocacy, IoT Advocacy at IBM.