Getting businesses back up and running and employees back to work is critical to the US economic recovery. However, there’s confusion between employers and anxiety for workers returning to work. Digital health and therapeutics company Huma asked 5,000 US employees and 2,000 US employers about their views on returning to work.
Only one in five businesses feel suitably informed on the specific policies/procedures they need to ensure a safe working environment for their employees. Yet employers are spending loads of money to reopen workplaces safely. Employers estimate that they will spend $3.4 billion per month overall, and $61.23 per employee each month to ensure employee health and safety. Nearly 9 in 10 employers (86%) have instituted new hygiene protocols, updated workplace layouts, and have a smaller workforce.
While employers are readying the workplace, they have not planned for managing COVID-19 cases. Few employers have made accommodations for managing COVID-19 exposure. Only one-fifth of employers have updated sick leave policies (22%) or communications policies for exposure (19%).
Economic realities are scaring employees more than health and safety risks
Shockingly, two-thirds of employees believe their health and safety could be compromised in the workplace. Despite these fears, most employees are eager to get back to work, with over half of workers (52%) ready to get back to work today. Of those employees who have already returned to their workplace, only one in four (27%) employees are confident in the measures in place to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
What’s driving employees’ concerns are interactions with other people, with respondents citing their co-workers’ hygiene (17%) and commuters (25%) as two of the three factors they were worried about, along with the workplace environment (21%). What causes the greatest fear for nearly three-quarters (72%) of employees is their coworker’s hygiene, which they rank as the single most significant factor in COVID-19 transmission at the workplace.
Managing employee health for a safe workplace
Employers have invested in the physical workplace, but have not put systems in place to manage employee health and COVID-19 case communications to ensure safer workplaces.
Overwhelmingly, two-thirds (67%) of employees would be willing to do a daily symptom check-in with their employers, and the majority (75%) would be comfortable with employers tracking their symptoms. Moreover, nine in ten businesses (87%) are comfortable monitoring their employees' symptoms. This research shows that there’s a willingness on both sides to manage employee health, yet few are doing so.
Dan Vahdat, founder and CEO of Huma, commented: “What this research identifies are the concerns of employers and employees in managing health and safety at the workplace during the COVID-19 era. Employers are spending millions to create a safe work environment, but not on solutions to manage employee health.”
“Employers need new solutions and guidance on how to manage their health and wellbeing of their employees and provide assurance that they are prepared for COVID-19. Without new solutions to help manage workplace safety, businesses and the economy are going to take longer to recover.”
Digital health and therapeutics company Huma is helping businesses and employees return to work safely. Huma Health Shield gives employees an easy-to-use mobile app to confidentially self-report their symptoms, track vital signs, and see their exposure risk. Employers have access to a secure web-based portal to see their workforce’s overall health while still protecting employee privacy.
Notes the editor
Research findings based on a survey of 5,000 US employees and 2,000 US companies conducted in September 2020.
Huma partners with scientists, technologists, and healthcare professionals to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent ill health. Giving knowledge and power to those with medical conditions, while saving clinicians time, energy, and valuable resources. Because, by collectively benefiting from the data we individually generate, we can all live our longest, fullest lives. www.huma.com