Organizations are preparing for the return of employees to offices and worksites as some states begin to ease the Covid-19 lockdowns first ordered in March.
And workers also seem on board with getting back to the workplace. A survey released by employee engagement software firm Hibob found 55% of participants are comfortable with getting back to work at the office, and 65% are confident their offices could overcome the operational challenges of returning to the traditional workspace.
However, the survey also found employees expect vigilant safety measures and require hygiene and sanitation protocols to feel safe. And surprisingly, 73% of the employees surveyed reported they are comfortable with getting routine office temperature checks despite speculation about the cumbersome and potentially embarrassing procedure.
And that’s a good thing. According to law firm Littler Mendelson PC, 72% of organizations plan to conduct symptom screening of their employees before they enter the workplace. Simultaneously, many jurisdictions are recommending — if not requiring — companies to screen employees for Covid-19-related symptoms.
The law firm also provided a list of statewide orders pertaining to employee temperature and health screenings.
As a return to the workplace approaches, companies have been quick to recognize the impending market for healthcare screening and Covid-19 testing, with many launching new offerings to provide the service. We look at a few.
ComplianceHR SmartScreen. Littler Mendelson itself has partnered with ComplianceHR, a joint venture of Littler and Neota Logic, to launch ComplianceHR SmartScreen. The employee screening solution — an automated, web-based screening solution powered by an artificial intelligence platform — allows employers to screen employees for Covid-19-related symptoms and risk factors before they come into the office each day.
WorkJam. Digital workforce platform WorkJam launched a health-check analysis tool that enables employers to prompt associates and leaders of frontline teams to complete a recurring mandatory health check survey on their mobile devices, which must be completed in order to clock in to a shift. The survey includes a variety of questions selected by the employer to ensure associates are healthy to work. The tool also triggers notifications and tasks to managers based on specific answers within a survey. The survey and scheduling data also enable employers to alert staff who may have come into contact with an employee reporting symptoms.
Watson Works. IBM also launched a tool to help firms return to the workplace. Watson Works provides analytical insights based on multiple input sources including WiFi networks, optical and thermal imaging cameras, Bluetooth beacons and mobile phones. It helps employers make informed decisions on when employees can return to the workplace, incorporating data on infection rates and self-reported employee health; adhere to new protocols and optimize space allocation when managing facilities; enhance workplace safety by applying employer data for temperature monitoring, social distancing and mask wearing; and trace potential exposures and help employees access services.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that employers may choose to screen employees for Covid-19 symptoms before allowing them to enter the workplace, as long as such screening is consistent with applicable guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and public health authorities and not applied in a discriminatory manner. However, employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves. Make sure to review any policies with their legal representatives.