Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Coronavirus Update 11-11-2020: Working in an office instead of working from home doubles the risk of contracting COVID-19

You are literally making Covid worse if you are refusing to permit employees to work from home.

According to a recently published CDC study, employees who work in an office setting are nearly twice as likely to contract COVID-19 than employees who work from home. 

ABC News summarizes the study's methodology and findings:
Researchers interviewed roughly 310 people who took a COVID-19 test in July, about half of whom tested positive, and compared them to a control group of people who tested negative. The majority of both groups, all adults, held full-time, non-essential jobs outside of critical infrastructure and had similar community exposure to COVID-19 independent of work.

The groups had some differences in behavior: Only a third of the COVID-19 group reported working from home or teleworking at least part of the time before their diagnosis, while half of the control group participants reported at least sometimes working remotely. In the two weeks prior to getting sick, members of the COVID-19 group were more likely to report that they exclusively went to the office or to school than control group members were. Researchers also found an association between going to the office regularly and attending church or religious gatherings.
What does this data tell us? In the words of the CDC, "Businesses and employers should promote alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures." 

Unless you absolutely need employees to perform their work from your workplace, let them work from home. COVID numbers are not getting any better. In fact, they are getting exponentially worse, and are predicted to continue to do so until plateauing as late as January or even February. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of this deadly virus. Allowing employees who are able to work remotely to do so is just about the least you can do.