COVID-19 has become a fixture of our working lives – so how is it affecting our outlook and expectations? In the run-up to self-isolation requirements being dropped for fully vaccinated people, we surveyed 500 SME business leaders and 1,000 employees to get their take on COVID safety in the workplace.
The results reveal widespread staff fears about becoming infected while on the job. Eighty-one per cent of employees are very or slightly concerned about contracting COVID from work colleagues. An overwhelming majority also believe their company should provide testing to reduce transmission risks.
Scientists agree. In a recent New York Times article, Jennifer B. Nuzzo and Emily N. Pond, epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Center, championed increased screening, saying: ‘As more contagious coronavirus variants emerge and lockdown measures are relaxed, the nation needs to intensify, not scale back, nationwide testing efforts.’
Staff health and safety, however, is only the starting point. Our survey shows that COVID controls impact key cultural drivers too – from employee attraction and retention to wellbeing and trust. And while businesses are moving in the right direction, top talent may not be willing to wait.
The rewards of doing the right thing
Employee survey feedback sends a strong message. Staff are worried about workplace health risks and want proactive, company-led protection from the virus.
The survey also highlights that routine COVID testing – or lack of it – can sway staff attitudes and allegiances. So not only does your screening setup shape current colleague perceptions, but it can also be a push factor for those weighing up their career options.
Businesses are behind testing – but are they doing enough?
Encouragingly, companies are recognising testing’s role in safeguarding their people and productivity. The survey confirms that business leaders believe robust testing is the way out of COVID – and many are prepared to offer in-house programmes.
The question is, are companies willing to convert good intentions into concrete action? Crucially, 78% of employers are confident that any disruption to their business caused by COVID will be recovered within a year. This could mean that some organisations simply ride out the storm with bare minimum safety measures.
This complacency could cost them. Given the strong link between COVID testing and employee satisfaction and engagement, colleagues could seek out competitors willing to go the extra mile for staff safety.
Businesses should capitalise on the simple, affordable, cutting-edge screening technology now available. Tests such as KnowNow deliver a 100% accurate reading within 15 minutes using a comfortable saliva-only swab.
As part of a full-stack biosecurity solution, employees can self-screen at home and log test outcomes on a patented app. The process generates a unique QR code that can be scanned on entry to your site, ensuring only non-infectious staff are granted access.
The result is a focused, risk-free working environment and a clear commitment to employee health, safety and wellbeing.
To learn more, visit knownow.com.
About the survey
From 16 August, fully vaccinated people are no longer required to self-isolate if a contact tests positive for COVID-19. Market research company 3Gem carried out the survey to gauge views on how anti-COVID measures will affect businesses after this date.
The research was commissioned by Vatic Health – creators of the KnowNow test – and questioned 500 SME business leaders with workforces ranging from 50 to 1,000+ employees. The survey also gathered feedback from 1,000 staff from similar-sized organisations.