The future of workplace health
Over 50% of COVID-19 cases are likely caused by people without symptoms (1). This means that testing in the workplace, at scale, is absolutely critical to limit the spread of disease and prevent further lockdowns. Offices are highly transmissible environments where many people congregate and cooperate in close proximity. Working professionals have large multi-generational social networks including children and elderly parents, so limiting the spread of disease by testing and isolating individuals has a broader positive effect on society as a whole.
Following the ongoing success of the vaccine rollout in the UK, it will be critical to mandate extensive workplace testing to ensure that the re-opening of offices is irreversible. After a year of business closures, testing is a vital tool in working to instil confidence and trust in the public handling of COVID-19 and fosters a safer environment for employees in the workplace. The implementation of an inclusive and adaptable testing programme in businesses will alleviate the public concerns of returning to the workplace amid a period of vulnerability and anxiety. Gradual easing of restrictions combined with frequent and regular testing will enable a return to maximum capacity in offices, whilst managing risk. We expect that most, if not all businesses will voluntarily or by regulation implement some degree of testing and certification for their staff. These measures are already in place across multiple sectors.
The options for testing in the workplace include scheduled at-home PCR tests and regular in-office rapid antigen testing. Combining these testing options to create a bespoke plan for each employee will enable offices to foster inclusivity and adapt rapidly to ever-changing government policies.
The costs of lockdown restrictions, both socially and economically are becoming too burdensome. Regular workplace testing provides a good alternative and can now be implemented alongside the successful vaccination programme. In the long-term, regular testing for immunity and disease monitoring will help individuals take ownership of their immunity, manage risks and avoid infectious diseases.
Ultimately, we believe that people will have different expectations of the workplace following the COVID-19 crisis. Employees want to avoid illness, and although vaccinations limit the spread of infections, more work needs to be done in creating these safer workplaces, spaces and venues. VacTrack’s workplace management platform will automate and manage this dynamic new testing environment for staff and employers. If you are interested to learn more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Johansson et al, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 Transmission From People Without COVID-19 Symptoms.
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