It’s an understatement to say that COVID-19 has had an impact on people’s lives. That includes how people work. As workplaces begin to welcome employees back into offices, employers now face a larger burden in terms of providing safe work environments. Employers are expected to help protect the health of their employees (and visitors), but many want to do so in minimally disruptive ways. Here’s a closer look at the importance of this huge responsibility and how to meet it.
While many employees have had the ability to be productive while working from home, the majority admit that being in the office is critical to facilitate building relationships and collaborating with team members. That’s only one reason that three in four executives believe that at least half of their office staff will be on-site by July 2021. (Interestingly, just six in 10 employees expect to spend at least half of their work time in the office by that point.) While many employees want to work remotely several days a week, the majority expect and in fact want to work in the office at least part of the time. To do so, however, they must feel that they have workplace safety. That said, only half of the workers feel that their offices are safe.
Making sure that employees are healthy can help reduce the risk to everyone, yet most employers want to do so in a way that is not disruptive or invasive. Employers should have policies that encourage staying at home when employees feel unwell. They can also ask employees to fill out simple self-certification forms to assure that they are feeling healthy and haven’t been knowingly exposed to any communicable disease.
Some workplaces are using thermographic gear to detect high skin temperatures among workers in a group, without the need to test their individual temperatures. Handheld thermometers that can read the skin temperature of an employee via the forehead or wrist is another technique. Other technological advances include wearable patches that monitor health information that can be shared with employers. More than half of employees say they are willing to wear such devices and share that data if it doesn’t cost anything. The accompanying resource describes more about the need for this kind of screening.
Graphic created by Northland Controls.