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    Employees ‘welcome contact tracing’ and trust their employer

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    Three quarters of UK employees (74%) trust their employer to create a physically safe and healthy work environment, while the vast majority (92%) of employees are at least “a little” comfortable with contact tracing led by their employer for the purpose of organisational safety.

    That’s according to a global survey of 3,903 employees across Australia and New Zealand, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Netherlands, U.K. and the U.S by Kronos Incorporated to help to debunk a misconception around COVID-19 contact tracing that suggests employee privacy concerns outweigh safety concerns.

    In fact, the vast majority of employees surveyed globally (86%) are comfortable to varying degrees with employer-led contact tracing, which, combined with education and transparent communication, Kronos says may be the key to setting a risk-adverse workforce at ease.

    While public narrative suggests that U.K. workers have been somewhat cautious around privacy concerns relating to contact tracing, the research discovered that, in fact, almost half of U.K. workers (46%) say they are “very” or “a great deal” comfortable with a workforce management approach to contact tracing, i.e., allowing their employer to use their work schedule records to identify and manage employees who may have been exposed to the virus at work and to help prevent onward transmission.

    Only 8% of U.K. respondents are “not at all” comfortable with this approach to contact tracing in the workplace.

    Similarly, 71% of all workers in the U.K. stated that they are at least “somewhat” comfortable with their employer leveraging their mobile phone device for organisational safety, with 22% being “very” comfortable and 14% being “a great deal” comfortable. When asked about leveraging mobiles for the purpose of wider public safety outside of the workplace, more than three quarters of U.K. respondents (76%) are at least “somewhat” comfortable with their mobile carrier leveraging their mobile device for contact tracing.

    Generationally, younger Millennials and Gen Zers consistently report greater comfortability with all forms of contact tracing than do their generational counterparts with at least one third (70%) of the younger generations in the U.K. trusting all forms of contact tracing.

    However, contrary to popular belief, at least 60% of the elder generation globally – baby boomers – are at least somewhat comfortable with contact tracing practices.

    The research also found that the workforce has high expectations for their employers to create environments that are as safe as possible. Despite the vast majority of employees in the U.K. stating that they trust their employer to create a physically safe and healthy work environment (74%), Europeans are less trusting than their North American counterparts, with 67% in Germany, 63% in France, and 63% in the Netherlands in agreement versus 80% in Canada, 80% in Mexico, and 76% in the U.S.

    Part-time employees are also slightly less confident in having a physically safe and healthy work environment (68%) compared to full-time employees (77%) worldwide.

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien