Surviving A COVID Thanksgiving

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top view of girl typing on laptop with autumn leaves and pumpkins around

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for families to come together to celebrate unity and jointly face adversity in times of crisis. However, as everyone gets ready and excited to take a well-deserved couple of days off, governments, industries, and communities face many challenges and concerns about one of the busiest travel dates.

There will be multi-generational contact as parents, grandparents, and children unite for a special Thursday family dinner. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 represents a real health risk.  As cases continue to surge, and the world faces a second wave, the threat cannot be ignored and understandably many institutions including Universities, have decided to dismiss students for the year following the thanksgiving break to minimize contagion risks from returning students.

So, what will Monday, November 30th look like for many companies and organizations across the U.S? Should employees go back to work or should they remain at home for the incubation period?

As a professional in the technology industry and part of a company that is constantly leveraging innovation, I can attest that this crisis has demonstrated the value of using all available resources to help make the best possible decisions. Especially now, after facing continuous uncertainty and endless pondering about the future which has generated social fatigue affecting how we live, work, socialize and connect with each other.  

At NEORIS, we believe in the power of innovation to help address some of the world’s most complex problems. Tools like NEORIS HealthCheck use innovative contact-tracing technology to assess the dangers of going back to work, providing companies and employees the right information to help make the best decisions about returning to the workplace, always aiming for a productive and successful recovery. Though there is no right or perfect solution, and strategies might vary from one company to another, here are some recommendations and practices to consider when returning to work after thanksgiving:

  1. Educate your employees on the risks of this national holiday and increase the awareness on various precautions that should be adopted to minimize exposure. Travel may increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, which is why I believe it should be kept to a minimum this year as we find ways to combat and overcome the pandemic. While it has been a long stretch, the hope of a vaccine is now real, and we should all try to consider keeping family gatherings to a minimum. Reconsider any travel to protect each other and our loved ones from potential exposure. But if you must travel, ensure you have the right personal protection equipment with you including face masks which have proven to minimize contagion risks.
  2. Make your employees feel understood and at peace with their decision to travel or not and spending time with family. Some may not feel comfortable with this difficult decision. However, it is important to support any choice to reduce stress levels and weariness.
  3. Support your employees’ choice by making sure they know that you care — nothing will make them feel safer than knowing there are tangible solutions to deal with their worries and concerns. Technology can be a company’s ally as different platforms can help ensure adherence to an organization’s policies and practices when it comes to the safety, health, productivity, and peace of mind of its people. NEORIS HealthCheck combines different technologies like artificial intelligence and contact tracing to identify, predict, and prevent exposure to COVID-19.
  4. Create an environment of great trust and transparency. Maintaining open channels of communication will enable companies and their employees to collectively ideate and collaborate on timely solutions. NEORIS HealthCheck has a microblogging feature to help employers through this process.
  5. Don’t let the week after thanksgiving catch you by surprise. Be prepared and have a plan. It will be important to establish clear protocols to ensure exposed employees and those who decided to stay at home feel comfortable, safe, and heard.

This is not an easy assessment; we are living in unprecedented times and no decision is right or wrong. But thankfully, technology can help us make appropriate and responsible choices that take most possible risk factors into account. We are living a new normal in an era where innovation enables companies, people, and society to reinvent themselves and exceed expectations. So, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to forge a new path forward.

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