A colleague of mine once described what it’s like for Americans to navigate Ireland’s roadways.
In addition to the challenges of driving on the left, there’s the constant awareness that the roads are not just for humans. Round the bend after an afternoon at Killarney National Park, and forty deer may leap in front of you.
Motor through the peat bogs in Connemara, and you may be stopped by sheep who are oblivious to traffic.
It’s a time of both wonder and a need to be prepared for anything.
As we emerge from the pandemic, the conditions are very much the same.
We’re barreling toward the dream of reopening the workplace. About 12 percent of the US population is now fully vaccinated, and all adults should be eligible for vaccines by May 1.
There really does appear to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and it could appear faster than some of us imagined.
That’s why it’s so important for enterprises to button up their preparations now.
It’s critical, first, that businesses empathize with employees when it comes to a return to the workplace.
Some will be eager for a new separation between work and home, while others will have relished the lack of a commute and will want their remote work arrangements to continue. Indeed, 52 percent of 1,000 professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) would telecommute full-time if the opportunity was offered.
Many will have residual concerns about COVID-19 related hazards. Twenty-five percent of workers responding to a June 2020 Korn Ferry survey were either “somewhat unconfident” or “not at all confident” that their workplaces would be safe.
Education will help to alleviate their worries. Businesses will need to communicate their specific COVID-19 safety policies and procedures widely and effectively, and demonstrate that they are working.
Organizations that are transparent, especially with numbers, will have an easier time re-engaging their people and putting doubts to rest.
Analyzing Data for Risk Management
Business and HR leaders will also need these numbers to manage the risks associated with reopening, as people who are vaccinated and waiting for COVID-19 vaccines gather together. Are unvaccinated employees concentrated in specific locations or divisions, and are any temporary staffing changes needed in offices and storefronts to keep workers and customers safe?
Enjoying a Clear Enterprise View
Fortunately, new technology platforms are providing a fast and easy way to zoom in on this key data.
The technologies include:
- A Digital Health Assistant (mobile app) for employees to learn more about their organizations’ specific policies, and record their vaccines, exemption requests, side effects, COVID-19 tests, and vital signs.
- A reporting portal for employers to monitor vaccine compliance in real time, based on the above data. Easy-to-read dashboard reports provide a window into organizations of any size, and can be segmented by location or division.
Evaluating COVID-19 Workplace Safety Programs
These digital solutions do more than simply report; they enable businesses to evaluate their COVID-19 workplace safety programs based on answers to questions, such as:
- How willing are employees to receive vaccines?
- How do their needs for onsite presence align with employees’ needs for being vaccinated?
- How are they managing employees not willing to get vaccinated?
- How well are they managing vitals/symptom tracking, testing, vaccine and exemption management, education and change management, and ongoing monitoring?
Proven Tools to Apply to New Frontiers
With rapid preparation for reopening becoming more critical, KnowYourMeds is now helping customers implement its own Safe Return-to-Work Solution.
Thinking back to my colleague’s adventures in Ireland, I’m wishing each of you the sense of wonder and possibility that she experienced—with the technology infrastructure in place to collaborate with trust, confidence and a new sense of openness.