The pandemic has made chain infection an important issue in the workplace. That's where contact tracing comes in. Learn more
The pandemic has made contact tracing an important issue not only in public spaces, but also in the workplace. If contact tracing is not done or is done poorly, there can be a domino effect of infections, which can end in the closure of the office.
We knew the term contact tracing even before the Corona pandemic. It is a surveillance process designed to minimize the spread of disease within a community. Direct contact of a person with an infected person, makes him or her a high-risk person, who may be infected himself or herself or may further transmit the virus. Surveillance of a potentially infected person is called contact tracing.
Contact tracking in the workplace is important for the well-being of all employees and for their trust in the company. Manual contact tracing describes a very error-prone process. This is because it is not possible to trace with exact certainty who exactly was in close contact with the identified person and at what moment. Health and well-being in the workplace should be a company's first priority and therefore cannot rely on the memories of individual employees. Contact tracing tools offer an excellent way to accurately track interactions in the office.
No matter which contact tracing tool you choose, you should make sure that your employees do not feel that their privacy is being violated. Employers need to be careful how they handle employee data and ask for consent. It's about your employees' trust in you as an employer, which you can and should maintain by handling sensitive data confidentially.
As an employer:in, create a contact tracing policy that describes exactly what information is collected and how long it is stored. Data storage for the chosen tracing tool will be on a central server. Regardless of the tool used, it is important to ensure that the digital proximity tracing system complies with WHO guidelines. We are talking here about ethical considerations for the use of digital proximity tracing and the protection of civil liberties, which must not be violated.
To find out which tool is best for your business, you should create a list of requirements that the tool should serve.
The beginning of any contact tracing is the knowledge about the presence of people at the workplace. Thus, the contact tracing tool you use should have a timestamp so that the exact time when the employees entered and left the office can be determined.
Automating data collection with a contact tracing tool improves workplace health and safety. However, employers should ensure that data capture is as accurate as possible. This means ensuring that clock-in and clock-out times are accurate and that employee locations and meetings can be identified in real time. Automation through a contact tracing tool seeks to ensure this precision, reducing the administrative burden of contact tracking and potential human error.
The goal of contact tracking in a company is to ensure the safety of its employees and the continuity of operations. Thus, employees can be accurately managed within work areas or workplaces. Contact tracing denotes an essential component for post-pandemic reintegration strategies. It is the only way to restore the physical infrastructure and track, record and map interactions.
In order to use the recorded data for successful contact tracking, it must be retained for a certain period of time. Data can then be deleted manually or automatically after a certain number of months. This must be coordinated with the legislation.
For every element of contact tracing, your decisions should comply with current privacy regulations. Also, ensure that your employees' data remains private. Before deciding on a specific contact tracing tool, employers should not only focus on the desired data collection, but also find out what features the tool should have to get employees to agree to contact tracing.
Whether daily or weekly – implement a screening of your employees and visitors. This can take the form of a questionnaire, for example, which employees can answer conveniently from their smartphones using the contact tracing tool. Questions can be asked such as “Have you had flu-like symptoms in the last few days?” or “Have you traveled recently? If so, did you have a:n colleague with you?”.
Contact tracing ideally overlaps with your visitor:inside management. To successfully perform contact tracing, you need to ensure that all people entering the building sign in. This sign-in process should be made as simple as possible, for example, via a sign-in screen on an iPad at the office entrance or via sign-in instructions on the visitors' and employees' mobile devices.
Regardless of which contact tracing tool an organization chooses, care should always be taken to ensure that the application is easy to use and compatible with the tools already in use. If a contact tracing tool is integrated as an add-on to the core application, the security personnel or receptionist will most likely already be familiar with the user interface and the implementation time can be drastically reduced.
However, implementing a tool that is compatible with existing on-site tools is not necessarily the best solution. Depending on the company's requirements, an external, unique tool or a portable solution in the form of wearables or readers with tracking software may be the best solution. Each company must determine for itself where its needs lie and which contact tracing functions are indispensable in a specific case.
Of course, a digital tool should not be viewed as an all-knowing entity and brings challenges along with its myriad benefits. The use of digital technologies for contact tracing can violate employee privacy if not done properly. Transparency and accountability of employers to their employees must also be considered in the implementation. Data processing contracts must disclose what data is transferred to third parties and for what purpose.
The ideal time to implement contact tracing in your company must be consciously decided. If training courses are scheduled in the company anyway, it makes sense to include the introduction of contact tracing in this preparatory phase.
In addition, there are no medical assessments available, because these are self-reported descriptions of the employees' health conditions, on the basis of which no medical advice can be given. Despite the precision work of the digital contact tracing tools, the data generated must be analyzed in a reflective manner.
In conclusion, while contact tracing can be done in analog, its implementation on a large scale is significantly simplified and made more precise by digital tools. Digital contact tracing tools provide better data quality and allow contacts to be located and tracked in the shortest possible time. They enable real-time awareness of the situation and coordination and management of teams in the safest conditions.