While many businesses have reopened after being 100% remote, or shuttered altogether in the spring, employers continue to face significant COVID-19-related challenges. And they are grappling with them amid a daunting economic landscape.
My recent XpertHR webinar for HR professionals across the US discussed the most challenging issues employers are experiencing and what they are most likely to deal with in the coming months. We surveyed the attendees about the biggest challenge they are facing, and back-to-school and other leave-related issues headed the list with 30% choosing that as their top concern.
Also rating high on the list of challenges were employee anxiety (23.7%) and, perhaps not surprisingly, workplace safety issues (21.6%) followed by concerns about nonadherence to mask-wearing policies (9.3%).
Another issue that’s been the subject of much discussion involves temperature checks. On a recent podcast, New York City attorney Jason Habinsky, who heads the labor and employment practice group with Haynes & Boone, acknowledged that checking employees’ temperatures at the door is a solution to promoting safety. But he quickly added, “The question is whether it’s the best solution.”
While temperature is the most prominent symptom of the coronavirus, it’s far from the only one. “Someone could come into the workplace without a temperature and still have the coronavirus or be asymptomatic,” said Habinsky.
He also noted there could be other risks for employers, including potentially to the testers themselves. “You want to make sure that they’re adequately and sufficiently protected by using PPE,” he noted. “You want to make sure that they are trained appropriately, so they understand the risks and how to administer the tests.”
With that as a backdrop, we asked webinar attendees, “Does your company take temperatures before letting employees in the building?”
Interestingly, 55% said no. This may indicate that some shared Habinsky’s skepticism about temperature checks as a meaningful safety measure.
Of course, many of these challenges are only truly issues if your employees are actually back to work at your physical worksite. So, we also took the “temperature” of our webinar attendees in polling them about how their company currently has its employees working?
The results show that while many employees have returned, work is unquestionably far different than it was before mid-March. For instance, 44% noted that some employees are physically back at work but on a staggered schedule (be that A and B days or staggered shifts to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time).
What’s your biggest workplace challenge in this COVID-19 landscape? We would love to hear from you. Please let us know by leaving a comment below.