There is actually a new word now – ‘Pingdemic’. Clearly a play on words with ‘pandemic’.
It refers to being notified or ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace app on your phone.
When you are “pinged” by the app, you are advised to self-isolate for 10 days. The notification is sent after the app registers that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive with Covid-19.
Currently such high numbers of staff are being pinged by the NHS app and having to self isolate that it is causing staff shortages in many areas, especially hospitality, factories & retail, in some cases leading to business closures.
What can employers do to manage resources?
Here are some tips: –
Working from home – if staff can work from home, then it is wise to continue doing so to avoid contact.
Hybrid Working – alternatively consider allowing some staff to work from home with others in the office, and then alternate them. This may avoid having to close the business if a large number of staff are pinged.
Start and finish times – consider staggered start and finish times to limit points of potential contact between employees. This may also help staff who have to travel by public transport to work.
Redeploying staff – consider freeing up staff in less business critical areas to cover more critical areas.
Skills shortage – look at what transferable skills your staff have.
Safety Measures – maintain your rigorous safety measures such as hand washing and sanitizing, ventilation in offices and factories, use of screens, having people working back to back rather than face to face, and maintaining social distancing.
Face Masks – continue asking staff to wear masks, especially in areas of close contact, such as meetings, canteen area and where staff work in close proximity to each other.
Casual staff bank – consider having a bank of casual staff that you could call upon.
Overtime – create a register of staff who would consider working overtime, and what hours and when they could work.
Health and safety COVID risk assessment – ensure that you not only complete a health and safety COVID risk assessment but constantly review and update it. Identify risks and control measures to manage those risks. Ensure you also include new or expectant mothers and other such as those with caring responsibilities or religious commitments.
Contingency Plans – build on your business contingence plans in the event that a large number of staff cannot work due to isolation. Keep reviewing the plan.
Training Managers – train and empower your managers to make quick, on the spot decisions and how to handle these situations.
Staff details – ensure your staff information, such as phone numbers, are correct and kept up to date in case of contact. If you use HR software, keep it up to date.
Many businesses are now putting pressure on the Government to change the rules on critical staff who are pinged. Because of this businesses in food production and supply, essential transport, defence and energy supply are now among those who can apply to relevant government bodies for exemption.
Please contact Hill HR if you need any advice on this.
#isolation #workforceplanning #staffshortages