Contact tracing is a key concern for businesses as they reopen the workplace, as the world looks much different than it did just a few months ago. Phrases like ‘social distancing’, ‘lockdown measures’, ‘zoonotic’, and ‘self-isolation’ have become part of the popular vernacular. Luxury brands are releasing high-end masks and Zoom is now worth more than $43 billion. For some people, returning to the workplace is a chance to finally reconnect with colleagues and the world at large. For others, it’s a time to proceed with caution.
In an age ruled by uncertainty, big questions abound. How can we trust that our workplaces are safe? How do we comfort employees who are unsure and unengaged? How do we deal with the privacy concerns surrounding the new crop of technologies?
These are unprecedented days, but one thing is clear: ensuring workplace safety is paramount. In this blog, we’ll be tackling some tough topics as we look at one of the most popular ideas for making the workplace safer, contact tracing.
According to The World Health Organization, contact tracing is “the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. When systematically applied, contact tracing will break the chains of transmission of an infectious disease and is thus an essential public health tool for controlling infectious disease outbreaks.”
In other words, COVID-19 contact tracing and testing are essential for maintaining a safe workplace. Public and private health providers have used contact tracing for decades – it was crucial in the battle against SARS and Ebola – but getting a potentially cautious workforce to jump on board may not be as easy.
Some employees may have privacy concerns about the collection of sensitive information, such as health and geo-location data, while others may bring up security concerns. By putting these issues at the forefront of the design process, Salesforce has been able to create a better, more secure solution where privacy and trust come first.
Salesforce’s Contact Tracing functionality on Work.com involves a manual process of tracing and monitoring the contacts of infected people. The ‘manual’ part of the equation is key, as Salesforce’s contact tracing process doesn’t involve using automated surveillance or the collection of location data from the user’s device like the solutions from Google and Apple do. For Salesforce, building and maintaining trust is paramount.
Our contact-tracing tool uses questionnaires that are designed to enable customers to honour consent preferences, respect privacy issues, and safeguard data. The information collected is not automated, and responses are at the participant’s own discretion. Think of it as a digital replacement for pen and paper – but lightning-fast, scalable, and hyper-efficient, which are crucial components when a workforce’s health is at stake.
Salesforce’s Contact Tracing function in Work.com can make a massive contribution towards helping businesses manage through the crisis. Employers can monitor employee wellness and trace possible exposure to help stem the spread of infection, and by using a tool designed to respect the user’s potential privacy concerns with technology, they can do it in a way that everybody’s comfortable with.
Even as contact tracing intensifies on other platforms – and automated surveillance and location data tracks the user’s movements – Work.com’s manual solution puts the user at the controls, not a computer.
Reopening workplaces safely is a challenge. There’s no precedent, playbook, or magic bullet; it’s a trip into the unknown, and we’re all taking the first steps together.
To find more information on contact tracing, as well as a range of resources and solutions for opening the workplace after COVID-19, check out Work.com.