Workplace Smart Cleanliness Study by SoftBank Robotics and Milieu Insight

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Majority (84%)  of employees seek office cleanliness to work effectively, expressing positive sentiments towards robot cleaners at the workplace

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Indoor air quality (70%) cleaning frequency (65%) and virus transmission risks (61%) are key concerns In a recent Workplace Smart Cleanliness Study conducted by consumer research firm, Milieu Insight in collaboration with SoftBank Robotics and Infogrid to understand employee sentiments about their office cleanliness since the pandemic. 64% of employees polled are concerned about contracting Covid-19 at work as Singapore allows up to 75% of employees to return back to the workplace.

SoftBank Robotics, the global leader in innovative automation and collaborative robotic solutions (cobotics) presented the results of the study at the recent CleanEnviro Summit Singapore to demonstrate how smart technology can be utilised to improve workplace cleanliness and overall employee experience.

The study found that:

  • 84% cite that cleanliness at the office is important for them to be able to work effectively
  • 75% think that the most ideal cleaning arrangement is a mix of both human and robot cleaners
  • 74% of employees seek greater transparency for cleanliness statistics, especially in:

1) Air quality (eg. particulate matter) (70%),

2) Cleaning frequency (eg. pantry, toilets) (65%) and

3) Virus transmission risk (61%)

Positive sentiments towards robot cleaners

85% are very or somewhat open to having robot cleaners in their offices with the top 3 most important functions cited as:

  • Vacuuming/Sweeping/mopping floors (84%),
  • Air purification (75%) and
  • Disinfect surfaces (74%)

Using cobotics to improve employee experience

As part of its ongoing technology enhancements for its AI-power flagship robot vacuum sweeper Whiz, SoftBank Robotics announced its latest partnership with Infogrid to deploy multi-sensor technology integration and its analytical dashboard to help companies run more efficiently, improve compliance and deliver a better working environment with Infogrid’s Air Quality Sensors. SoftBank Robotics’ Cobots (collaborative robots) are specifically designed with the principles of human-robot interaction and to support an organization’s current staff, not replace them. Deploying autonomous cleaning cobots can help impact the bottom-line for organisations seeking efficient solutions that reduce repetitive or strenuous tasks for the cleaning staff, allowing them to focus on nuanced, uniquely human needs and improving overall cleaning efficacy.

Kenichi Yoshida, Chief Business Officer for SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. said: “Cobotics is the collaboration between workers and robots, or other automation tools to improve employee experience. Whiz’s smart AI cleaning with real-time data on indoor air quality using Infogrid sensors and its analytical dashboard can deliver peace of mind to both employers and employees concerned with the risks of transmission of airborne viruses at the office. This survey conducted in collaboration with Milieu Insight is extremely insightful for employers and building owners to understand the importance of using data to reassure our Singapore workforce that there are specific benchmarks in place to ensure that their office is safe and clean.”

Commenting on the dataset, Milieu Insight’s Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Tracy, said, “The study helps shed some light on the concern levels of Singaporean workers as many are now heading back to the office. With 64% indicating they’re somewhat or very concerned about contracting Covid-19 at work, office cleanliness and safety are top of mind. But there’s an enormous opportunity in applying data and robotics to address these concerns. And the study shows that support is high for integrating things like more data and transparency around office cleaning practices, as well as the integration of robotics, including robo-vacuums.’’

Ross Sheil, Infogrid’s Senior Vice President of Global Revenue said: “Infogrid’s Smart Building Platform when deployed with Whiz provides the reassurance that businesses and their employees need as they return to the office. By being able to monitor and report on indoor air quality in real time, businesses can take immediate action to keep their employees safe and also improve productivity and mental wellbeing. Our partnership with SoftBank Robotics allows us to ensure that building managers are able to make the right decisions at the right time based on real data.”

SoftBank Robotics has introduced GERMii UV-C for Whiz, a disinfection and vacuum cleaning 2-in-1 function for Whiz that is able to eliminate surface pathogens* in Singapore. Its powerful features include obstacle detection, fall prevention (LIDAR sensor, 3D camera), impact detection (sensor-installed bumper), anomaly detection (Cliff sensors, wheel contact sensors, emergency brake function).  Whiz has its own proprietary BrainOS Navigation Software that helps determine the best cleaning route based on its real-time surrounding environment. By deploying the newest Whiz products with Infogrid’s smart technology, organisations can monitor their office indoor air quality, occupancy levels, building usage, humidity levels and other AI-powered insights to take action to improve the workplace environment.

The Workplace Smart Cleanliness Study was conducted via Milieu’s proprietary survey community who work in office environments in Singapore (N=1000). The data is representative of all working adults aged 16 and above, and the margin of error is +/- 3% at 95% confidence level. Data was collected in April 2022.

* >99% microbial reduction.

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