As Return-to-Work Becomes Reality, New Data Shows Companies Lack Plans to Manage Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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ReturnSafe’s survey of national HR leaders finds COVID-19 and future infectious diseases viewed as major threats to business, less than 50 percent have plans to manage them

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“We need to ensure that every workplace has a long-term solution to address issues related to COVID-19 and beyond. It’s clear from our survey findings that employees are extremely concerned about how employers plan to manage vaccinations, social distancing, and infectious diseases down the line.”

ReturnSafe, the comprehensive software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) helping businesses reopen and stay open, today released findings from its new study on return-to-work strategies and the future of infectious disease in the workplace. Findings paint an uncertain future as companies struggle to develop strategies to bring employees back to work safely. More than half of survey respondents do not currently have policies on vaccination requirements (52 percent) or managing future infectious diseases outbreaks (49 percent).

“Returning to a sense of normalcy is palpable. After a year of navigating remote work that negatively impacted business outcomes for many, it’s understandable that employers want to get people back into physical workspaces as soon as possible,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, CEO and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “But the pandemic isn’t over, and future outbreaks remain a threat to employee health and wellbeing. We need to ensure that every workplace has a long-term solution to address issues related to COVID-19 and beyond. It’s clear from our survey findings that employees are extremely concerned about how employers plan to manage vaccinations, social distancing, and infectious diseases down the line.”

Key findings from the report show:

  • Remote work has hurt company growth, culture, and employee wellbeing: 58 percent of respondents said that their company has been negatively impacted by not having employees in a physical workspace
  • Getting back to work is a high priority for companies and employers, but employees have major concerns: 63 percent of respondents said they plan to bring employees back to full capacity in 2021, but their employees have expressed concerns over vaccination policies, social distancing, and long-term impacts of infectious diseases
  • Business leaders are split on requiring COVID-19 vaccinations: 52 percent of respondents said they don’t yet have a policy in place on COVID-19 vaccination status and employee return-to-work eligibility, and only a bit more than half (58 percent) say they have plans in place to manage a mixed-immunity environment
  • COVID-19 has changed how we address sickness in the workplace, generally: 56 percent of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their company’s overall sickness policy, from requiring sick employees to pass a screening test, to requiring sick employees to stay home, to requiring a doctor’s note to return to work
  • Future infectious diseases are a threat to business, but nearly half of respondents don’t have plans to manage them: 78 percent of respondents said that future infectious disease outbreaks are a threat or liability to business, but nearly half of them lack protocols to manage infectious diseases beyond COVID-19

“Our findings show that nearly half of employers don’t have a vaccination policy in place, meaning they must deal with the complexities of mixed-immunity environments,” said Jikku Venkat, Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Product, and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “Companies need tools like daily health screeners, testing dashboards and case managers to not only prevent COVID-related healthcare costs from spiraling out of control, but to ease employees’ concerns and instill confidence that their health and safety is a top priority.”

To view the full survey report or learn more about ReturnSafe, visit https://returnsafe.com/.

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Survey Methodology:
A survey of 122 companies was conducted from March 17-31, 2021 to better understand how employers are planning return-to-work strategies and thinking about the future of infectious disease in the workplace. Respondents were asked 21 questions that pertain to the future of work and managing mixed-immunity work environments.

The Survey was commissioned and executed by ReturnSafe.

About ReturnSafe
ReturnSafe is a holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) that is helping businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues businesses reopen and stay open. Its end-to-end platform provides daily health screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing and case management for COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. ReturnSafe is based in Austin, TX and backed by Fifty Years, Necessary Ventures and Active Capital. To help keep everyone in your organization safe with human-driven, technology-supported solutions, visit http://www.returnsafe.com.

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