When the COVID-19 crisis recedes and companies begin the process of reopening, tech-based HR solutions will be essential for preventing resurgences of the virus. We are already seeing workplaces reopening in Wuhan, China, and the measures in effect there are a preview of what may be needed in North America. It is in the best interest of companies to smooth that transition as much as possible, using technology to mitigate both the risk of additional transmission and the awkwardness of more invasive methods. These four technologies can help to ensure a smooth transition.
Social Distancing Monitors
Much risk can be mitigated if coworkers stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from each other. Social distancing and the restructuring of workplaces to keep employees apart should, in theory, be enough. In practice, the close quarters of many offices and workplaces make distancing difficult to maintain. One solution to keep employees reminded of this important safety provision is the social distancing monitor.
Products like social distancing wristbands, which buzz when other wristbands get too close, are a non-invasive way to remind coworkers to keep their distance. As well as alerting employees, these products make it easy for HR professionals to conduct contact tracing. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, their movements and contacts with other devices can be tracked, to pinpoint which of their coworkers are at risk and may need testing.
One measure that has been rolled out in Wuhan is the daily temperature check. Since a fever is one of the main symptoms of COVID-19, daily temperature checks can keep sick employees from spreading the virus in the workplace.
While a traditional under-the-tongue thermometer will work, it is fairly invasive for everyday use and increases the risk of contact. Thermal cameras do the same job but with much less contact. Infrared thermometers are a less expensive option that requires some adaptation.
In many countries, face masks are a de facto response to both flu season and pandemic situations such as COVID-19. In North America, however, face masks are often considered taboo, especially in the workplace. Some studies show that even simple surgical masks can considerably reduce coronavirus transmission. To mitigate the discomfort of wearing masks in the office, some manufacturers are turning to novel designs that feel more like clothing than medical devices.
The Virustatic Shield is a comfortable snood that the manufacturer claims stops "96% of enveloped influenza viruses." A number of clothing manufacturers have also started making non-medical reusable face masks. These patterned or fitted masks feel more like a fashion accessory and less like a clinical device.
Even if employees keep an appropriate distance apart, they still have to interact with objects such as door handles, touchscreens, faucet handles, and coffee pots. Shared surfaces can create hot spots for virus transmission. To avoid these hot spots, some companies have designed interaction devices.
The Hygiene Hand is one such device: an easily sanitized brass tool for interacting with surfaces such as touchscreens and door handles. While tools like this may feel awkward at first, they are much easier to adapt to than wearing surgical gloves all the time.
Let TPD Help You
Low-tech solutions are often possible, but the more awkward they are, the less likely they are to be followed. Integrating tech solutions can make it easier for employees to follow guidelines – and easier for HR professionals to enforce those guidelines.
For help planning ahead to the day when your company’s normal operations resume, do not hesitate to reach out to the qualified HR experts at TPD. You can contact us here, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 1.844.873.4745. For additional HR resources, visit our COVID-19 HR Support Centre.