Coronavirus and Business
Updated: Mar 20
The news is only about one thing at the moment. Coronavirus is having an overwhelming impact. Firstly, on the health of those it infects and those close to them. Secondly, on the economy as services shut down and people go into isolation to prevent the spread of the disease. For sectors where it is possible to work from home, this effect can be minimised. For sectors that require workers to be physically present - such as construction, hospitality and retail - there is no such relief.
Until a vaccine is created and distributed, Coronavirus will continue to disrupt business in this manner. The risk of bankruptcies, and a subsequent rise in unemployment, is high. It’s possible that we will still be recovering from this outbreak in ten years’ time. Most of us are unable to increase the speed at which a vaccine can be developed, but we may be able to reduce the spread of the disease and even increase the speed of the economic recovery.
During a typical flu season, how often do you consider the symptoms and how they are passed around your workplace?
Do you know how many employees are coming into work despite not feeling a hundred percent?
Do you know what the risk of contagion is, and how many days’ work will likely be lost to the illness?
Most likely, the only piece of information that your company has is how many sick days have been taken, and this will only be available after the event, not before. With illnesses like flu, the impact on your business is likely to be manageable. With Coronavirus, the consequences may be far worse.
Responding to COVID-19 with technology
At Facecheck AI, we have built an app which workers use to check in at the start and end of each shift. We monitor things like whether they have the correct equipment and training, but also whether things like fatigue may affect their ability to do their job, or to travel home safely afterwards. Once the scale of the Coronavirus outbreak became clear, it occurred to us - what if we could use this functionality to track workers’ symptoms?
By asking employees to record what symptoms (if any) they were experiencing on a daily basis, employers would be able to provide support and manage the impact of the illness much more effectively. Being aware of which employees had been in proximity to each other could help identify those who are now at risk. Knowing who has recovered from the illness, and may therefore be safe to return to work, will help businesses get back on their feet more quickly. We can’t make Coronavirus vanish, but we may be able to reduce the risk to your employees, and to their livelihoods.