Testing Technology Trends
What does the future look like for COVID-19 and how should businesses prepare?
If omicron has taught us anything, it's that this pandemic is unpredictable. The waters have calmed for now, but as a society, we need to learn from what we've been through and put health and wellness measures in place to protect us from another surge.
Many businesses are wondering: what now? Should we drop all of the protective measures we had in place to keep people safe at work when cases were at an all-time high? The answer is to approach the next phase of the pandemic with an eye toward maintaining safety and being prepared with a risk-reduction toolkit. That includes, most importantly, employee vaccines and boosters, but a close second is regular antigen testing, followed by masking and social distancing to reduce virus transmission.
Workplace testing is the way forward
Testing has proved an essential part of keeping COVID-19 outbreaks at bay, which is why workplace contingency plans should center on having a testing program in place. This will allow you to ramp up testing to prevent outbreaks if another variant emerges. And though cases are low, companies can use tests for people who are showing symptoms and ask them to stay at home if they test positive to keep others in the workplace safe.
Workplace testing can also improve employee morale and contribute to a sense of safety around being in the office. It helps companies retain the top talent who prefer to work for employers that prioritize the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Three tips for getting a testing program up and running
Even though research has proved the benefits of testing, most businesses do not have a testing program in place. This is due to the prohibitive cost of the tests, plus supply chain issues that make finding a reliable, cost-efficient source difficult. Other factors include administrative hurdles and a lack of clear communication from government officials.
However, it's crucial for businesses large and small to have a testing roadmap ready to go. The right plan will have the company prepared to evaluate risks and spring into action to meet a wide range of possible scenarios.
Here are some key elements of a successful testing program:
- Create a pilot program, assigning minimum viable roles and responsibilities, test frequency and data management so that when changes come up, you can avoid interruptions and scale up if necessary
- Keep communications authentic to boost employee morale and participation in workplace testing programs. Make sure that employees understand that their well-being is always the central focus
- Work with internal influencers to help employees feel more comfortable with testing, such as showing company leaders taking rapid tests
Testing resources for businesses
As businesses develop a testing strategy, they can gather information and guidance from groups such as the U.S. Rapid Action Consortium, which offers an approach to rolling out COVID-19 testing in the workplace with a free testing playbook. Businesses can access even more resources on the Rapid Action Consortium's content hub, complete with information on how to boost participation in workplace testing programs, case studies and more.
Taking these actions now will help protect your team, mitigate risk and keep your company ready for whatever comes next.
About the author
Saundra Clarke is the U.S. Program Director for Genpact and the U.S. Rapid Action Consortium. As Program Director, Saundra is responsible for partnering and leading strategic efforts with government and industry professionals toward the development of sustainable best practices and business continuity plans to keep business environments safe and operable in the ever-changing COVID environment.
Dr. Steven Phillips is Vice President, Science and Strategy at the COVID Collaborative. He is a medical and public health professional and leader in global health and international development spanning private, government, academic and think-tank sectors over a three-decade career.
About the T3 blog
Given the unparalleled threats and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, sharing information is more important than ever. Here you’ll gain insights, knowledge and strategies to help you navigate the challenges, improve decision-making and take control of your workplace and your life.