Keeping Employees Safe During COVID: How Technology Can Help

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Amid all the wrenches the pandemic has thrown into our personal and professional lives over the last year, it’s important to look for the bright side wherever you can. One of the few silver linings of the last year has been watching employers across industries adopt new tools and technologies to keep workers safe, engaged, and productive.

Whether you plan to eventually bring your employees back to the office or keep them remote for good, you’ll want to keep leveraging the right technologies to ensure your employees can thrive, no matter their context. It’s time for HR leaders to step up to the plate and give their employees the safest, most effective work environments possible. Here are some of the ways technology can help:

Smooth, Safe Workplace COVID Testing

If your employees are currently working in a central location or will soon, the only way to ensure everyone’s safety and limit the spread of the virus is to use real data to inform your decisions. That’s why it’s a good idea to make testing available to employees and put in place a system to track employee test results formally.

Something simple, like a mobile health app that helps employees identify their own symptoms, evaluate risk encounters, and create protocols around what they should do based on their answers, can go a long way. You can use such a system to give employees guidance on when to get tested, stay home from work, and more. You can even give employees the option to self-report fever, cough, or other symptoms as well.

While HR departments can certainly act as important resources for employees, a technology tool can be more convenient and flexible. Employees can access it at any time to quickly make the right decisions about their health and well-being.

Centralized, Robust Communication

If HR teams need tools to help track employees’ self-reported data, they also need systems to distribute their own messages back to employee populations. Effective communication is a two-way street: Employees need easy ways to communicate their concerns clearly, and HR teams need avenues to distribute safety policies and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Technology can aid tremendously in streamlining communication and eliminating any confusion around workplace safety protocols. If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to invest in technology that allows for centralized, secure, and effective communication to employees. Lucky, such technology isn’t hard to find; many human resources information systems today have social components and integrations with other communication tools like Slack. This makes it easy to centralize communication efforts and distribute information to every employee who needs it when they need it.

If you invest in a mobile health app, you may be able to use it to make your communication efforts even more robust. For example, some mobile health apps allow direct messaging with employees, push notifications, and reminders about test results and testing information. It’s worth looking into the capabilities of your organization’s mobile health app to see how it can be incorporated into your broader employee communication strategy.

Seamless Vaccine Distribution

Managing and tracking vaccine distribution is a task unlike any HR departments have taken on before. In order to ensure employees are safe in the office, HR teams need accurate records of who has been vaccinated and when. That the vaccine is, in some cases, a two-part process makes this information all the more difficult to track — unless you have the right technology on your side.

There are many applications to track employees’ vaccine statuses currently being developed and launched. HR teams should also create vaccine resource sites to guide employees through the vaccination process. A strong resource site might include state-by-state guidelines, a dashboard tracking immunization status, and thorough information about eligibility.

It’s important that any vaccination tracking efforts adhere to relevant privacy laws, so be sure to check that your efforts meet all the applicable regulations in your jurisdiction. Do not make public any private employee health information.

Whether you have plans to stay remote or return to the office, it’s important to take steps to keep employees safe. In this time of uncertainty, employees need your support. You can lend that support by investing in the right technology tools.

Rob LaHayne is CEO of TouchCare.

By Rob LaHayne