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Employees Want Contact Tracing Notification

Aug. 20, 2020
A recent survey shows 86% of employees say an employer has an obligation to notify employees if they who may have been in contact with a co-worker who has tested positive for COVID.

A recent survey shows 86% of employees say an employer has an obligation to notify employees if they who may have been in contact with a co-worker who has tested positive for COVID. In fact, the vast majority of employees surveyed globally by Workplace Intelligence (86%) are comfortable to varying degrees with employer-led contact tracing, which may be the key to setting a risk-averse workforce at ease.

Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. employees (88%) currently working from home due to COVID-19 would not want to risk returning to their workplace if there were rising cases of COVID-19 in their region, which could have an impact on employers’ reopening plans.

Additionally, 66% of U.S. employees going into work right now feel the same way: 2 in 3 would not want to risk going into their physical workplace any longer if there were rising cases of COVID-19 in their region.

With few opposed to the concept of contact tracing at work, the question for employers is not “should we,” but “how should we approach contact tracing?”

  •  In order to safeguard organizational safety, around half of employees (48% globally; 50% in the U.S.) say they are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable with a workforce management approach, i.e., allowing their employer to use their work schedule records to identify and manage employees who have been exposed to the virus at work and to help prevent onward transmission.
  • Employees are equally accepting of employer-led contact tracing using access control/workplace movement records (48% globally; 51% in the U.S.), while 2 in 5 employees (39% globally; 40% in the U.S.) are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable allowing their employer to leverage their mobile device for contact tracing purposes.
  • Generation Z and younger Millennials worldwide consistently report greater comfortability with various forms of contact tracing than do their generational counterparts (49% and 48%, respectively, are at least “very” comfortable), as do employees based in India (66% are at least “very” comfortable) compared to other countries surveyed. Finally, only 14% of employees worldwide are “not at all” comfortable with contact tracing at work.

“Employees have demonstrated that they do have safety concerns in the workplace, but generally trust their employer to take care of them,” says Gregg Gordon, vice president, industry, Kronos.”This should signal to employers that they have a responsibility to step up and employ all methods necessary to protect workers physically and mentally during COVID-19, regardless of whether employees have worked all through the pandemic, have recently come back to the workplace, or won’t be brought back for another few months.”

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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