The working world has changed. It was just 10 months ago when the UK went into its first lockdown, businesses closed, streamlined their headcount and processes and introduced government funded Furlough schemes to stay afloat.
Enter into 2021 – now almost a year since Covid-19 began – and despite ongoing lockdowns where 24% of workers are still exclusively working from home (www.theguardian.com), there is a much welcomed, widespread national hope as the UK government rolls out Coronavirus vaccines and introduces new Rapid Lateral Flow Covid testing into workplaces.
These Lateral flow tests have been introduced to test people with no physical symptoms in hundreds of UK areas and have already identified 27,000 infected people in the UK (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55751874) who without this, would been unaware of their immediate need to isolate, thereby helping to reduce the spread of the virus among the workplace.
The impact of infected staff, or those suspected of being infectious has hit businesses’ bottom lines in many ways, with UK companies reporting a decrease in profits of as much as 43% due to Covid (www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins).
Although there was previous Scepticism around the validity of lateral flow tests, a recent report from the BBC has claimed that this scepticism has been ‘unfounded,’ claiming that these tests are successfully ‘designed to detect live virus in people with no symptoms who are highly infectious.’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55751874). Lateral flow tests detect a live virus in people showing no symptoms at all, who are infectious. Test results are available in as quickly as 15 minutes, enabling those who test positively to isolate much more quickly.
As a comparison of accuracy, the report goes on to explain that PCR tests on the other hand, detect ‘dead’ virus, as well as live virus traits. ‘That means people can test positive for weeks after the point they are actually infectious, or capable of passing the virus on to others.’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55751874).
Introducing these rapid Covid tests into the workplace will help facilitate patient treatment decisions far more quickly, thus reducing any unnecessary downtime, help prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace and staff sickness levels. They will provide peace of mind to staff, boosting morale and helping to improve mental health, which has to date been impacted by ongoing uncertainty and having to work from home in isolation.
So what of the bottom line? Tests will help stop the haemorrhage of revenue businesses are losing to sickness cover and reduced productivity due to staff absence. A pilot test rolled out across Tata and John Lewis saw that ‘rapid Covid tests saved the companies 8,000 sick days – and FIVE major factory closures.’ (https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-9204771/We-want-roll-workplace-Covid-testing-UK.html).
The roll out of these tests began in the public sector with corporate giants such as Royal Mail and DVLA signing up to the scheme. Now testing kits are readily available for all businesses, at an affordable cost.
At OfficeTeam we are pleased to help you welcome your teams back with our new government approved Rapid Covid Testing Kits. Available in packs of 20, you can order now and find out if your teams are infectious in just 15 minutes.