Return to Work and Office Re-start COVID-19 Testing
For employers readying to invite or mandate employees return to work there are challenges and dangers that have to be met and mitigated to ensure the safety of employees and crew.
COVID testing of employees immediately before they enter the office should be part of any restart/return policy, and can be beneficial beyond the obvious risk-mitigation testing delivers.
In this article I’ll discuss methods for conducting return to work COVID-19 testing, cost-saving options for ongoing testing, and how to achieve real, long-tail ROI from a well-planned testing event.
Begin with a goal or set of goals;
Inviting employees back to the office or workplace in a manner conducive to positive employee sentiment, a safe environment, workplace productivity and sustainability should be your baseline goals.
Achieving them requires good planning.
Important to a successful launch is a clear, concise expression of your restart/return plan that allows employees ample time to ask questions and gives them a perfect understanding of their roles, your rules and what to expect upon returning.
Key to a successful reopening and a profitable year is understanding that the current environment is highly politicized. Set the tone by exhibiting respect for all sides of the argument. This topic is similar to religion and if you stay focused on having a successful year the outcome will be just that.
Pro-vaccine people and anti-vaccine people will not likely come to an agreement but can work productively, side by side if your leadership team is rigid in exhibiting respect for all. Putting the focus on success for all while being agnostic with respect to the argument is the way forward.
How to make it work with only a percentage of employees vaccinated;
Offer to bring in a COVID Vaccination Company like Discovery Health Services to provide vaccinations to all employees.
Testing those that choose to not be vaccinated on a regular weekly cadence will allow you to open up and normalize the office environment.
There are three proper testing strategies:
- Test all non-vaccinated employees twice a week; the most risk averse will want to initiate this policy but it can be costly.
- Test all non-vaccinated employees weekly; for the moderately risk-averse this is a great strategy
- Cycle Testing; this is algorithms-based testing that groups people by where they sit/work. A fraction of each group is tested each week as representative of their work area. A very cost effective method.
Choose your strategy based on finances and the demographic of your workforce. An employer in San Francisco will want a policy that is likely far different than for a workforce in Tupelo, Mississippi.
A company’s success is directly attributable to the sentiment of its workforce, and employees that are satisfied with a company’s policy will be more productive.