Contact Tracing Solutions Offer a Way Forward During COVID
By late June or early July, everyone was hoping that the pandemic would be over. The idea was that warmer weather would, if not cast it out, at least decrease the amount of transmission.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
People had high hopes that, perhaps by September, there would be a vaccine that would help make workplaces and public gatherings safer.
That vaccine also has not yet emerged.
COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for businesses and private individuals alike. It has changed the world as we know it: the way people do business, interact with the brands they care about, and even come to work each day. People are spending more time online and less time in actual contact with people. They do more online shopping. Many workplaces have turned to remote opportunities rather than asking their employees to come into a physical office environment.
Others, however, cannot allow their employees to work remotely. Some may need to bring their employees in to work occasionally, whether to pick up supplies or to deal with tasks that can only be completed in the office. Some may need their employees to work in a physical building to fill orders, interact with customers, or take care of production tasks.
As the coronavirus crisis continues to impact the world and the workplace, your business needs contact tracing solutions to help it move through these uncertain times.
Why Do You Need Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing solutions can benefit your business, not just in the midst of the crisis, but as we move into a post-coronavirus world. Consider these critical reasons why contact tracing is, and will remain, incredibly important for your business and your employees.
1. Help your employees and visitors feel more confident.
The COVID-19 health crisis has created an unprecedented amount of insecurity and fear among many individuals. People are more aware than ever of the potential to spread germs and get sick when they come into contact with others. High-risk individuals, including both the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, have been forced to increase the measures they take to protect themselves.
Contact tracing, including badges and lanyards that can help prevent employees and visitors to your site from accessing potential high-risk areas, can help increase confidence and make people feel better about visiting your location. For your employees, that means decreased stress in the workplace, which can improve productivity as well as creating a better overall workplace environment. For visitors to your workplace, adequate contact tracing could be the difference between choosing to visit your site and choosing to stay away.
This need for confidence in sanitation and safety will likely remain in a post-COVID world. The coronavirus has permanently changed the way many people view health and wellness. Even with vaccines and treatments for the illness, many people will still worry about the potential to get sick and the lack of productivity it may cause in their lives–not to mention the associated risks. Contact tracing can help address that challenge and make people feel more comfortable in your business.
2. Track the potential spread of illness (and not just COVID-19) through your workplace.
Imagine a typical flu season. An average 90% of Americans report at least “sometimes” coming to work while sick. When they have early symptoms of the flu, for example, they may come to work in spite of it. Some brush it off as allergies. Others say that they “don’t feel that bad” or “can continue to work anyway.” Many Americans have too few sick hours or feel that they need to save their time off as much as possible.
As a result, the flu could spread through your workplace like wildfire. It might start in one department, with a single employee noting symptoms and then sharing it with coworkers. Contact by contact, it spreads throughout the building, decreasing productivity and leading to increased sick time.
Contact tracing can help reduce the likelihood of that spread just as it can decrease the spread of coronavirus.
Many businesses have, as a result of COVID-19, learned just how many of their processes and procedures can be handled remotely. While being in a physical work environment can offer several advantages, including reduced distractions and better connections between employees, your business has likely implemented several workaround strategies that will allow your employees to work from anywhere.
You can continue to use many of those vital processes long after the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end. Like the flu, COVID-19 may become a seasonal malady in the United States, cropping up more often in the late fall and winter. The flu continues to present a significant hazard, not only to the health of the elderly or medically-compromised individuals in your workplace, but to overall workplace productivity.
Contact tracing can help change that. When you identify an ill employee and trace their connections through the workplace, you can warn and isolate individuals they came into contact with. That may mean moving employees to remote work for a few days or weeks while they deal with symptoms of illness. By isolating those employees, you can prevent the spread of that illness throughout the workplace, keeping all your employees healthier. Not only is this a vitally important process when decreasing the spread of COVID-19 through workplace environments, contact tracing can help you keep your workplace healthier even after the immediate health crisis ends.
3. Reduce the cost of unnecessary testing and isolation.
If you cannot track and trace the spread of COVID-19 through your workplace, you may have employees going through unnecessary testing. Those employees may have to quarantine until they get results in or until they can confirm for certain that they did not contract the virus.
This can lead to a great deal of lost productivity and increased costs for your workplace, especially if you work in an environment where your employees need to be sure of their health before coming to work each day.
Without contact tracing, you may have trouble identifying which employees have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. As a result, you may have employees unnecessarily missing work or going through expensive testing. With contact tracing, on the other hand, you can reduce the cost of expensive external tests and keep employees working when they have not actually been exposed to COVID-19.
4. Keep business operations flowing more smoothly.
COVID-19 has caused extreme disruption across many business environments. Businesses have faced shutdowns, employee inability to work, and employees who have needed new modifications. As a result, many businesses have struggled to remain afloat in the midst of the crisis.
With contact tracing, you can keep your business operations flowing more smoothly. You won’t have to disrupt areas of your business where employees have not faced potential exposure, nor will you have to question whether specific employees or areas were impacted by a worker who tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, you can keep your company operating more smoothly.
How Does Contact Tracing Work?
Contact tracing is not disruptive for your employees or your business as a whole. With our contact tracing solutions, you do not have to rely on employee memory of what they did or where they went, nor do you have to question who may have been exposed or who may have been in a specific area.
1. Employees are issued tags that track their movements.
These tags, which are worn by employees every day, send messages to a gateway that tracks movement throughout your facility and the presence of various employees in specific areas. As a result, you can easily see what areas employees moved through and who may have faced exposure to COVID-19 if someone falls ill.
2. Employees notify you if they have a positive test.
An employee who tests positive for COVID-19 needs to notify their workplace as soon as possible. Your organization needs to take fast steps to notify people who may have been exposed and prevent future exposure in the workplace.
3. You can assess risk levels for other employees.
With Kontact.io’s COVID-19 contact tracing solution, you can access a display that will easily track potential exposure for other employees, including factors like:
- How closely did each employee come into contact with the infected individual?
- How long was each employee exposed to the person with COVID-19?
The program allows you to collect data about who came into contact with the affected individual and respond accordingly, notifying those who may have come into contact with the affected individual without disclosing any of that person’s private health information.
4. Take action accordingly.
By now, your business likely has a plan in place for how to respond to potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. You likely have a policy that will notify employees who may have been exposed by an infected coworker. Once notified, you may want to:
Isolate affected employees.
In some cases, you may be able to isolate a small department, keeping them out of contact with the rest of the workplace until they have had negative tests or are at least two weeks past exposure. Your business, on the other hand, may prefer to have those employees work remotely or to have them stay home until they have a negative test.
Clean the impacted areas.
In order to decrease the potential spread of COVID-19 through your workplace, you may want to deep clean the affected areas. Our contact tracing solution will allow you to easily assess what areas of your workplace the affected individual spent the most time in and clean them accordingly.
COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon, nor is the need for contact tracing. By installing an effective contact tracing solution in your workplace, you can increase your ability to protect your workers and keep them safe. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how our solutions can improve safety in your workplace.