A colleague of mine recently described the mixture of joy and anxiety she experienced after she and her husband bought their first home.
On the one hand, they had always had white-picket-fence dreams. On the other hand, she worried that they would be house poor because of their decision. She knew, though, that the odds were in their favor—given that their mortgage lenders had pored over every nuance of their finances.
Employees who are returning to their original workplaces may share a similar combination of happiness and worry. Despite their wish to move back to their old routines and see the colleagues that they’ve missed, they are entering a new normal with unprecedented safety issues. Employers’ role is not only to protect them, but to demonstrate that their confidence in a safe return is supported by data and facts.
Addressing Worries about COVID-19 Exposure
Even with the accelerating pace of vaccinations, leaders expect their workers to have questions about COVID-19 safety when they reopen their doors.
Last October, when Pew Research Center studied how the pandemic was changing adults’ workplace behaviors, they found that workers who spent some time on premise had COVID-19 on their minds. More than half were concerned that they would inadvertently pass the disease along to colleagues, or catch it themselves.
It’s natural that when a new crop of workers returns, they will have the same lingering doubts.
Businesses’ customers, too, are proceeding with caution. When organizations meet with me about their workplace reopening plans, they specifically ask how they can reassure their clients or shoppers that a front office or storefront is staffed in a safe way.
Emerging Vaccine Incentives
Many companies have implemented COVID-19 vaccine incentive programs, which help provide this reassurance. Consumer-facing businesses, for example, are paying their people extra, or giving them more paid time off, so they can get their vaccinations. The incentives boost their people and their brands. They can instill confidence that organizations put everyone’s safety first.
One key challenge with incentive programs, though, is monitoring. How can companies easily and quickly ensure that the largest number of people are being vaccinated in the shortest amount of time? And how can they communicate their efforts—and successes—to earn their stakeholders’ trust?
Managing Change and Complexity
Monitoring and reporting are even more challenging right now because so many people are either waiting for vaccines, or are requesting vaccination exemptions for medical, religious or other reasons.
Moreover, vaccine availability changes daily. As I write this blog, an average of two million people in the U.S. are receiving shots every day. It’s important to have systems in place that can keep up with evolving conditions.
Fortunately, new AI-driven technology platforms are giving organizations’ compliance and monitoring initiatives a boost in this dynamic environment.
Configured to reinforce employers’ unique return-to-work requirements, these platforms include:
- A Digital Health Assistant (mobile app) for employees to record and stay on top of their vaccines, COVID-19 tests, side effects, and vital signs. From their smartphones or tablets, workers enter information about:
- Whether they plan to be vaccinated or have received one or two shots
- Whether they have applied for an exemption, and the status of their request
- Any vaccination side effects
- COVID-19 tests and results
- Current vital signs, such as temperature and oxygen levels
- A reporting portal for employers to monitor vaccine compliance across the enterprise in real time, based on the data entered through the app. Easy-to-read dashboard reports provide a window into enterprises of any size and any number of locations.
Sharing the reports is a powerful way to engage and celebrate everyone in the workplace as companies reach new safety milestones—and demonstrate that systems are airtight. Indeed, these dashboards also give leaders a chance to realign staffing temporarily, as needed (moving vaccinated people into public-facing positions, for example).
The KnowYourMeds Solution
KnowYourMeds has rolled out its own Safe Return-to-Work Solution to help employers ensure compliance with its pandemic-related vaccine policies.
The solution builds on the technology behind KnowYourMeds’ flagship AI-driven platform to help employees manage more than 130 health conditions and related medication regimens. Employers can choose to integrate the Safe Return-to-Work solution with this more comprehensive app, or use it on a standalone basis.
Showing Employees That They Are Valued
One of the most important competitive differentiators any organization has is its talent. When business and HR leaders adopt these technologies, they are showing that they recognize the difference every individual makes—and they are determined to keep each of them happy and safe.
For more information about KnowYourMeds’ platforms, please contact us here.