Return to Work Studio

Reopening the workplace
in the wake of COVID-19.
Return to Work Studio—a collaboration between Newlab, StrongArm Technologies, and Norbert Health—is a live sandbox and pilot program using frontier technology to safely reopen the workplace amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

In the wake of the pandemic’s first wave, uncertainties remain around how to restart the stalled economy without sacrificing the health, safety, or privacy of employees. Return to Work Studio applies technologies including wearable sensors, secure and real-time data systems, and 5G network integrations to meet the challenge at hand.

The three-month studio will pilot at Newlab HQ, which houses 150+ companies and 800+ members. Learnings will serve as a blueprint for other organizations devising protocols for reopening.

Studio collaborators
Studio collaborators
Studio collaborators

Does your company have a product or technology that can help New York get back to work? Or want Newlab to build a Return to Work program for your organization?

Focus areas
Workplace risk assessment

Wearable sensors assess individual and collective risk profiles in real-time, aggregating data to provide a comprehensive overview of member health. Data-driven insights inform preventative and reactive protocols for workspace layout, social distancing, and disinfection.

Health metrics monitoring

Sensors securely collect and store data including members’ body temperature, cough frequency, vital signs, and eventually breathing depth and rate to detect indicators of viral infection. Passive, seamless health checks occur when members enter and exit the building, as well as when they move about the workspace.

Space and movement optimization

Sensor ecosystems monitor interaction, positioning, and movement patterns, providing haptic and audible reminders to maintain appropriate distance per CDC guidelines. Findings inform tweaks to high-traffic areas—repositioning the coffee station to support space between members or suggesting optimal foot traffic pathways, for instance.

Communication and privacy

Daily reports inform members and teams of time series data. Confidential messages alert members of imminent risks, and designated monitoring teams view aggregated data to analyze workplace-wide exposure risks. Members are not monitored outside of the building; encrypted data remains anonymous during analysis.

Key dates
Pilot start date, cohort one
May 11, 2020
Cohort two
Whitepaper released
July 2020
Pilot location

Newlab HQ in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to more than 800 members. The 84,000 ft² space shares common elements with many offices and warehouse environments, making it an apt venue for extrapolating findings to other high-traffic spaces like airports, construction sites, or healthcare facilities.

Collaborating companies
StrongArm Technologies, Inc.

Assessing individual and environment risk profiles in real-time with IoT-enabled and machine learning-fueled sensors.

Norbert Health

Monitoring vital signs via passive and contactless ambient sensor systems—without the need for wearables.