- In early March, IBM’s leaders, like many others, faced a difficult question: How do you keep an office open during a pandemic?
- IBM decided to use its Yorktown Heights, New York, location as a prototype for reopening its other offices.
- Bob Wisnieff, chief technology officer of quantum computing at IBM, helped oversee the effort to reimagine the workplace.
- In addition to facility changes, the company has developed an app, Watson Works, that only allows a certain number of workers into the building at one time.
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As companies begin considering reopening their offices during the coronavirus pandemic, they are faced with a difficult question — how do you bring employees back to work while also ensuring their safety?
IBM has been dealing with this challenge since early March. The tech giant has about 350,000 employees worldwide, some of whom are considered essential workers.
Bob Wisnieff, chief technology officer of quantum computing at IBM, who oversees some of the company’s most expensive equipment, (equipment that needs daily check-ins and tunings) was tapped to help keep IBM’s headquarters in Yorktown Heights, New York, up and running.
Wisnieff devised a plan for the headquarters that other leaders could copy and apply to other global locations.
“Our main question was: How can we make sure that the people on site are going to be working as safely as possible?” Wisnieff told Business Insider. “We retooled many many aspects of our site.”
Winsieff worked with state officials, an internal crisis response team, and the building’s managers, to keep the office up and running for essential workers — like those who oversee IBM’s top tech hardware devices. The office has since granted access to 10-15% of IBMs normal Yorktown Heights personnel who may need occasional entry to the technology and space.
IBM gave Business Insider a virtual tour of what it’s like to work in an office that has been prepped to keep employees safe from coronavirus.