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Top Ten Lessons In Workforce Response to COVID-19

September 30, 2020

In a Risk & Insurance article, Annemarie Mannion interviewed  Tammy Bradly, vice president of clinical product development at Coventry, and Tim Howard, senior vice president of field case management for Genex Services, to discuss the top lessons learned about COVID-19's impact on the workplace and employee return to work. 

  1. Unlike typical workplace injuries, COVID-19 requires more than simple treatment and recovery. Long term effects are still unknown.
  2. COVID-19 impacts different workers differently. Younger workers may recover quickly, while older workers with co-morbid conditions may suffer complications and need more time to recover. Office and manual workers will also respond differently.
  3. Employers must be flexible. Because there are many possible outcomes, employers must offer multiple return to work options.
  4. Communicate with employees. Recovering workers may be concerned about reinfection, and co-workers about close contact. Provide credible information using the CDC and other reputable websites.
  5. Make the workplace safe using CDC and state guidelines. Provide ventilation, limit the number of employees in the workplace and sharing of equipment. Use contact tracing.
  6. Listen to employees and medical experts about readiness to return to work.
  7. Offer mental health intervention.
  8. Case managers must stay informed, educate workers and ease their concerns.
  9. Use apps for screening employees' health and documenting their responses.
  10. Consider hiring a medical director (or contracting with a physician as a consultant) to update policies and procedures.