Back to business as usual?
These unprecedented times have brought insecurity and new risks. A variety of new measures have changed the way we live our lives. Most of us have never experienced anything like social distancing, a concept and approach which has significant implications for many working activities.
Politicians and business leaders must take decisions which they have not faced before. Decision makers rely on experts whose expertise frequently derives from past experience and may not always prove reliable. Many companies face uncertainty about when and in what circumstances employees can return to the office without posing a risk to the health or effectiveness of the workforce. But what if you could simulate the benefits/costs of various measures in advance?
Questions that arise during the decision-making process:
- Which are the most effective measures to consider before a return to duty/office?
- What is the maximum number of employees permitted on premises?
- How often do crowded or shared areas (kitchen, WCs, printers) need to be disinfected to prevent rapid spread of COVID-19?
- How many people are allowed per square metre?
- Which measures have not been taken into account?
PwC 3D behaviour and mobility simulator
It can be tricky to find answers to all these questions as well as consider the most recent scientific research into SARS-CoV-2 and its transmission. Although we find it hard to imagine all the possible combinations and scenarios when taking decisions, an agent-based behaviour and mobility simulator can help bring our ideas to life virtually. The combination of simulation and artificial intelligence helps us to assess the various options and take decisions with greater objectivity and certainty.
At PwC, we have developed a 3D behaviour and mobility simulator to take data-driven decisions about our return to office working. This simulation uses the latest scientific studies on the transmission of COVID-19 (distance at which the virus spreads, how long the virus survives in the air, how long the virus survives on surfaces). The simulator is fully configurable by users.
The simulation helps answer questions like those above and collects data to assist management in taking better decisions. Furthermore, supported by artificial intelligence, the simulator can suggest the best measures, or combination of measures, from a scientific perspective to minimise risks from COVID-19.
Example based on 4 measures:
- Leave your own working area as infrequently as possible
- Keep a distance from others
- Only every second workspace is occupied
- Only 50% of staff return to office.
These measures would enable a 90% reduction in the simulated infection rate.
Above all, this tool helps our decision makers identify creative and innovative new solutions.
As Ferdinand Magellan said as he embarked on the first circumnavigation of the world in 1519: “The point is not to ensure that sea remains calm, but to prepare to sail into stormy, unknown waters.” The current situation is terra incognita for us all.