Companies are scrambling to figure out the right way to approach reopening their offices. Do they follow guidelines? They keep shifting. Do they demonstrate best practices? If so, what is the best way? As states reopen, there are not clear lines of how to keep people safe in the workplace – whether you are returning to an office, a manufacturing line, or a restaurant.
While we believe that working from home can provide safer options than most environments, we do believe that returning to the work environment should be at the lowest risk possible. State guidelines allow for businesses to be open, but they also encourage companies to continue working from home when possible. If employees can successfully perform their job duties from home, why risk the health of your staff and their families.
Many companies, like the one I work for at MicroAutomation, are eager to get their employees back into the office but not at the risk of exposing employees and their families to a potential virus or infection. Thankfully, there is no shortage of information available on how companies should prepare themselves. Sorting through all that information and deciding which measures are best for your company is a different matter.
My team has participated in countless webinars and read numerous CDC guidelines, state and county guidelines, and health department guidelines. Despite a wealth of information, there does not appear to be a one-size-fits-all action to take. Here are a few of the more popular actions that I have come across in my research:
Another more stringent and costly action is to implement an employee screening program to check for fever and COVID-19 symptoms. This includes having the proper medical staff on site to take the temperature of employees as they enter the building and refuse admittance to those that show symptoms or feel ill. Although this may be effective in limiting the spread of the virus, this could be an expensive measure for companies to undertake.
Being a small company, MicroAutomation understands the struggles companies are going through. We want to provide a safe working environment for our employees to return to, but we cannot afford to break the bank to do so. Utilizing our experiences in Emergency Response Services to help save lives, we desperately wanted to draw off that to help our community and our nation to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus. We decided to leverage our OmniMonitor product to do omnichannel (text, voice calls, email and social media messaging) illness monitoring.
MicroAutomation has had great success with public health agencies around the country that are utilizing MicroAutomation’s OmniMonitor Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to set up campaigns to text their employees (or public participants) daily, asking if they had any symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. With simple Yes/No responses from their staff, they monitor symptoms, check on them daily, track who they had been in contact with, and create alerts for their management teams to monitor.
One of the major benefits of MicroAutomation’s OmniMonitor application is that it provides early detection. We have found that people are more willing to respond to questions through text messaging than they are to tell someone they are sick. By administering daily check-ins, we feel that we can contribute to the greater good across the country and help prevent the spread of the virus.
With the uncertainty of “normal” returning any time soon, companies need to decide which measures they will enforce to provide a safe working environment for their staff. Whether it is an on-site medical staff or a more cost-effective solution like OmniMonitor, each company must decide what is best for their employees and their business continuity. The health and safety of our employees, our families, and our communities are what is most important, and it starts with proper re-opening and response protocols in our businesses.