For many employees across the world, working in an office is but a distant memory. However, most mission-critical control room operators have endured COVID-19 restrictions and in-person guidelines at their respective operational spaces, changing daily work life for thousands of us. Many of these control rooms enacted practices to limit the number of people onsite at a given time to help with social distancing. Facility management likely increased cleaning and disinfectant regulations to keep workstations safe. These efforts allowed many teams to remain operational with minimal disruption. Eventually though, all control rooms and workplaces will resume in-person operations where we left them so many months ago… but what does the new work life routine look like?
What does this mean for the control room environment? How do operators maintain optimal efficiency if new guidelines and standards become the norm? Many operation centers may continue to embrace a mostly remote workforce. If the past year has taught us anything, remote collaboration doesn’t need to be as daunting a reality as previously perceived. What’s possible in the typical office for remote access is just as possible for control room operators. Just as employees can work from home, access materials across their company’s network, and collaborate in real-time with web-based meeting apps – control room operators across all industries can rotate out from in front of the physical video wall to access everything remotely offsite. Whether from a home office, on the road, or a separate workspace altogether, these operators are forming practices during COVID-19 that will likely carry on into regular daily routines in a post-pandemic world.
With the right hardware and software in place, many organizations see how easy it is for their users to access the shared common operating picture a video wall provides, whether onsite or not. Hardware accessories that let users in a control room access web-based apps for data monitoring, even locally hosted applications, can all be reached through a secure network without being physically in the room. Intuitive content management software with the right capabilities, like CineNet, ensures that no functionality is lost to the user no matter where they access the system. Video feeds, data, documents, applications, and more can still be easily pushed to the wall and pulled from various workstations as needed.
Eventually, our work life will return to a semblance of what we once considered “normal.” However, smart control room operators have used this time to see what workflow gaps need to be filled to maintain remote workforce functionality. Whether they’ve already made the strides necessary, or are just now starting, to host user capabilities offsite as well as on, these organizations realize that the daily routines they had this time last year will be outdated in a world shaped by COVID-19.