Employees will understandably have anxieties about being at or returning to work, and employers can help soothe those nerves and demonstrate that they care. Workforce testing is a first step but cannot sit in isolation – it needs to be supported by a working environment that has adapted to the pandemic.
Clear messaging will be vital to ensure that all employees are aware of the changes made to the workplace and the new rules they need to follow.
Returning to work has emotional as well as physical barriers for employees. Everyone has responded to the pandemic differently and there will be employees who have unfortunately lost loved ones or suffered financial stress. Listening to employees is crucial and the knowledge that their employer understands and cares will help greatly.
There are two main types of COVID-19 testing available for the workplace that are MHRA-approved and CE Mark accredited: the rapid virus test and the rapid antibody test.
Rapid virus test
The virus test, also known as the antigen test, is a swab sample from the mouth and nose area from an on-site healthcare professional that can find out who has COVID-19 within 20 minutes.
The antibody test is a finger prick blood sample performed by a health advisor on site which can find out if somebody has had COVID-19 in the past and is temporarily considered immune.
This kind of testing can have a dramatic difference to business operations as it can allow employees more freedom in the workplace and the opportunity to work in groups where necessary. Further Guidance on workplace testing is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers-and-third-party-healthcare-providers.