Will technology make us safer in the workplace?

Technology is likely to play a major part in getting people back to work safely in the wake of the pandemic. How and in what sectors?

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If the UK government's roadmap to take us all out of lockdown proceeds without a hitch - and that's a very big "if" - something close to normal life will resume on June 21 when most of the current restrictions are due to be lifted. And for Britain's army of nouveau homeworkers, normality could well mean a return to the workplace. For many this will mean a sad end to the idyllic, zero-commute lifestyle. Others will heave a heartfelt sigh of relief. 

It could be a tense time. Even when the bulk of the population has had the jab, the likelihood is that many of us will feel nervous about getting too up close and personal with colleagues, especially if new vaccine-busting variants emerge.

So how will employers ensure that staff stay a safe distance from one another? Well, the Internet of Things could well play a part in policing our working spaces. Whether implemented by smart lanyards, tokens or networks of censors, new systems are being developed to monitor where employees are standing in relation to each other and how long they spend in close proximity. So will this be the hot-ticket technology sector for 2021 and beyond?

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