I spent time with a client today who is being severely affected by staff shortages caused by test and trace notifications, and he firmly believes that the problem will ‘only grow’ as lockdown rules ease.
Reading the news today it seems a number of high-profile employers and unions have warned that businesses could be forced to close because of staff shortages caused by people being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app. As the last of the coronavirus restrictions in England ease today, these companies have said the country faces a “pingdemic” unless the government relaxes self-isolation rules for vaccinated individuals. Currently, the government is not due to relax self-isolation restrictions until 16 August. However, the number of people being told to self-isolate is already causing problems for some employers. During the first week of July, there were more than 500,000 alerts issued on the NHS Covid app in England and Wales asking people to stay home because they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.
The problem with staff being ‘pinged’ is affecting all sectors, some report show that factories are on the verge of shutting and that at some sites, hundreds of staff are off work. In addition, some sectors such as manufacturing, health, hospitality, retail and public transport businesses are now living in fear of being pinged by the app as it would mean they would have to isolate and be unable to work. This in a time when businesses are doing their best to recover from a treacherous 18 months already!
What can we do to avoid a ‘pingdemic’ – be flexible by freeing up staff from less business-critical areas and using temporary workers where possible, maybe implement Covid-secure workplace policies, including the use of screens or barriers and mask wearing, despite the relaxation of official guidance. Or should we encourage people to work from home where possible, to reduce the number of contacts their staff have in the workplace or when travelling to work, or for roles where employees need to be in the workplace, organisations should continue using measures to reduce staff contact, such as staggered start and finish times. All these are the types of strategies that we’ll be looking into at Heyllo! to keep us up and running and supporting our clients and candidates.
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