Covid-19 crossed the world faster than anyone expected. In months, the virus traveled from a single Chinese province to nearly every country in the world.
Suffice it to say entrepreneurs were caught off guard. Fearing for the health of their team and customers, those that could closed their offices and embraced remote work. Now that the economy is opening back up, leaders are looking for ways to resume operations while slowing the virus’s spread.
No one tool can render an office completely safe, much less stop a global pandemic. With that said, entrepreneurs have stepped up. These seven recently developed tools can reduce the risk of transmission not just at the office, but also in homes and public spaces:
Although contact tracing might seem impossible across a team, business leaders have a responsibility to get it right. The trouble is, team members can’t be expected to recite every contact they’ve had days after exposure.
Early detection is key. To quickly identify exposure risks, tech companies Readeapp and El Toro teamed up to create Healthepassport, an app that helps workers self-screen and generates color-coded risk reports. At-risk workers can then get tested and stay home, protecting customers and other team members.
Security and privacy are common concerns with contact tracing, which Healthepassport has addressed well. The HIPAA-compliant app only functions within a geo-fenced workplace, and individual employees’ location data is never shared with their employer. Employees can access resources and instructional videos for private, personalized health tips.
Not just anyone can sign up for Healthepassport. Users must be invited by their employer, school or health department in order for the app to work. Those who choose the manual reporting method may not capture every contact since exposure.
Retooled to fight Covid-19, Immutouch was originally designed to help people with nervous tics. The bracelet works by buzzing when it gets too close to the wearer’s face, providing a gentle reminder to keep their hands away from their mucous membranes. Because one of the best ways to avoid contracting Covid-19 is to avoid touching your face, Immutouch can be issued to employees on an individualized or across the board basis.
Touching your face can be a tough habit to break, which is why wearable solutions are so important. Its sleek design doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, and the affordable price makes it a worthwhile purchase.
To make a difference across a team, Immutouch must be distributed widely and worn consistently. And for someone who already avoids touching their face, it might not make much of a difference. Immutouch also lacks many features that are found in other smartwatches.
Tracking symptoms has become a key part of slowing the spread of Covid-19 as the country slowly reopens. Purpose-built for hourly teams, TeamSense helps workers identify symptoms that signal they should stay home. Not only does the platform protect customers and other employees, but it also reduces the risk of costly litigation.
The technology is text-based, so employees aren’t required to download an app—easing privacy and security concerns some workers may have. The check-in only takes a few seconds and can be done at home or on-site.
Users self-report their symptoms, so there’s always the chance some people may answer questions dishonestly. Because TeamSense does not require an app download, contact tracing must be done without the assistance of bluetooth technology.
Masks have become the face of the battle against Covid-19. But in the workplace, sometimes it’s important to see faces. Facial expressions matter just as much as words when getting a message across. Deaf customers may rely on reading lips to do business. Leaf’s transparent design and HEPA filtration offer the best of both worlds: safety and visibility.
Leaf is the first FDA-approved transparent mask. Not only does it filter 99.9997% of particles in the air — far more than a simple cloth face mask — but it makes communication clearer.
Leaf has three product lines, with the Leaf PRO starting at $199 plus $15 per month for filters. For startup leaders and large teams, those costs add up quickly. Its plastic construction also makes it tough to tuck in your pocket when not in use.
You probably touch your smartphone more than anything else. If you’re not careful, it can become a hotbed for bacteria and disease. Washing your hands won’t do much if you grab a filthy phone immediately after. PhoneSoap uses UV-C radiation to clean your phone, killing off most of the germs on your device.
The PhoneSoap cleanse only takes 10 minutes. While that might seem like a long time for the phone addicts out there, it’s a small price to pay for a sterilized device. Plus, PhoneSoap is about the size of a smartphone, so it can be left on your work desk without crowding your space.
PhoneSoap hasn’t been proven to stop the spread of Covid-19, though it may do so. While it’s certainly better than nothing, it’s not a guarantee. The product is also on the pricier side, at $79.95 and up. The top-of-the-line model, AirSoap, is a whopping $399.95.
6. Hygiene Hook
Some of the best inventions are also the simplest. To minimize contacts with potentially infected surfaces, Hygiene Hook helps you open doors without touching the handle. Weighing just two ounces, Hygiene Hook is a metal keychain device that can also be used to push buttons.
Hygiene hook is small enough to fit in a pocket and starts at just $10. Some designers are even offering free blueprints for 3D printers, making it possible for some companies to print enough tools for the entire team.
A hook can’t open every door. With certain knob designs and window latches, you may be on your own. To be effective, Hygiene Hook also requires the user to remember to reach into their pocket before touching the door.
7. Starship Robots
If Hygiene Hook is the Covid-19 tool for everyone, Starship Robots is the top-shelf solution. Interest in these autonomous robots has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Grocery stores and restaurants are hungry for ways to reduce human contact during shopping and delivery.
If your company has a product that must be handed off to customers, these little robots might reduce your risk of transmission. Customers will think they’re nifty, and you’ll appreciate that they can lower your labor costs.
You can’t go out and buy a robot to drive to the store for you. This is a partnership-based service available in limited locations and operated with select companies. To order a Starship Robot of your own, you may have to wait a few years.
Covid-19 has shown once again how innovative human beings can be. If you’re looking for cutting-edge ways to protect your team and customers, these tools should be your not-so-secret weapons.