The news this week that holidaymakers will need to quarantine for two weeks after returning from Spain[i] highlights one of the major challenges facing employers as the UK tries to get back to normal working life, says Adrian Lewis at Activ Absence.
Spain was added to the UK’s quarantine list from midnight on Saturday with just a few hours’ warning. This comes as Europe is bracing itself for a second wave of coronavirus[ii] – which could mean more countries added to the quarantine list in the coming weeks.
Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence, says that businesses will need to become more agile in how they manage employees and have systems in place to keep track of who is in or out the office to ensure that quarantining or self-isolating employees don’t impact the business.
Adrian says, “Over the past few weeks businesses have been returning to some normality with many opening their doors for the first time since lockdown. More workers are going into work, whilst those that can are continuing to work from home. However, Covid-19 is still with us and will impact the workplace for the foreseeable future.
“Rules and regulations around quarantining are changing quickly, which means affected workers having to stay at home for 14 days. Some can go back to working at home, but for others this may not be possible. Some people may even be asked to take extra holiday leave, which will need to be approved at short notice.
“There is also a track and trace system in place with people asked to self-isolate with immediate effect if they are known to have been in contact with someone has tested positive for the virus. All of this can cause major disruption to businesses just as they are starting to get back to normal.
“One solution to help companies deal with this is to have technology in place such as absence management software, enabling them to keep track of where staff are and plan accordingly. Such technology gives instant visibility of the entire workforce so managers can act quickly to address potential staff shortages.
“It also facilitates flexible working, which is essential, especially if staff have to work at home again. The system also helps companies manage annual leave, with requests and approvals able to be done online, as well as sick leave and other absences such as employees still on furlough.
“The system alerts managers if people are off sick and enables them to spot any trends such as taking a lot of time off or always having a Monday off, which could indicate someone is struggling. With mental health issues on the rise during this crisis this is vital insight and means employers can step in with support if necessary.
“As companies adapt to the new working world which has changed since Covid-1,9 technology is key in helping companies manage their staff, keep track of where everyone is at any one time as well as look after their wellbeing. It enables businesses to react quicker to staff absences, offer greater work flexibility and ensure its business.”