The sudden arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing onslaught of shut-downs and quarantine orders defined much of last year. Those businesses unable to pivot quickly in compliance with the orders, or those simply unable to due to the nature of their work, suffered many losses and closures. And the workplaces that succeeded in achieving compliance likely had to find new ways to do even the most basic tasks essential to completing their work. It was a period of rapid change and uncertainty that, thanks to modern science and the ongoing rollout of vaccinations, thankfully appears to be drawing to a close. Employers who for months have been considering the right time for a return to the workplace might be nearing the time to take action, while also taking into consideration employees’ fears over in-person interactions. In fact, an American Psychological Association study released just last month found that 49% of adults feel uneasy about returning to the workplace. For these employers, Harness Health Partners is proud to offer its Return to Work Safely Program.
The Return to Work Safely Program uses national best practices as guidelines to help employers make their workforce feel as safe as possible when returning to work. With the support of Bon Secours Mercy Health, Harness Health Partners works closely with businesses of all sizes to understand their specific requirements and customize a return-to-work program that meets their needs.
Western & Southern Financial Group is the parent company to a family of financial services businesses, ranging from life insurance to investment and retirement solutions. The company employs approximately 2,000 people in Cincinnati, Ohio, in four large office buildings.
To its credit, at the outbreak of the pandemic Western & Southern was able to quickly transition its employees to remote workers. While this switch kept the business running during difficult times, Western & Southern places high value on in-person collaboration, and management knew it had to start finding a way to bring people back to work safely. To help them accomplish this massive task, they contacted Harness Health Partners.
Harness began by touring each office location with the Western & Southern facilities staff to point out the changes needed to comply with social distancing and hygiene requirements and create a safe environment for its employees. Harness established an on-site health checkpoint to screen employees as they arrived for work each day, as well as a COVID helpline that employees could call to speak with a nurse about their COVID-related questions and concerns. Harness helped Western & Southern create protocols to assure the safety of employees as they returned to the office, and even assisted in putting a strategy in place to reopen the on-site cafeteria and provide box lunches to employees while protecting workers and cafeteria staff.
With the help of Harness Health Partners, Western & Southern has been operating at 50% office attendance, with a rotation program that allows over 90% of its employees to work safely with their team members in the office at some point every 2-3 weeks. The company continues to follow local health orders and has even implemented an on-site vaccination program for its employees.
Harness’s readiness to respond and adapt proved key to success.
Throughout the pandemic, Harness was able to pivot quickly with us as new information emerged and our COVID strategy changed,” said a senior Western & Southern executive. “We sincerely appreciate their medical expertise, the time they took to understand Western & Southern and formulate a program that reflected our values, and the flexibility they have shown in working with us to meet our needs.
Phlow is a public benefit corporation, located in Richmond, VA, that performs the important mission of ensuring that Americans have access to the critical essential medicines they need to sustain life and conquer disease. Using advanced manufacturing technologies, the company is dedicated to reducing costs and improving the quality of life-saving medications, while addressing shortcomings in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
While Phlow’s employees were operating effectively from remote working locations, team members had expressed their desire to start considering a return-to-work plan. The company realized that, especially as a health-focused organization, it wanted to give its employees peace of mind not only in returning to the office, but in their overall health and wellbeing. Providing vaccinations for the Phlow team would address this issue, but with vaccine shortages and health concerns due to public exposure still at play, the company knew it needed assistance and contacted Harness Health Partners.
With support from Harness, Phlow began offering vaccinations to its employees and their strategic partners’ employees at convenient, on-site locations in Richmond and Petersburg to minimize employees’ travel times to get their shots. To launch this program, Phlow communicated details about the vaccination process (i.e., what to expect, what forms of ID were required) to its team using educational materials provided by Harness
At Phlow, our employees come first. It’s our priority to ensure they are taken care of, so being able to offer them the COVID vaccine was essential to our mission,” said Eric Edwards, Phlow Co-Founder and CEO. “By partnering with Harness, we have been able to function as one team to provide a comprehensive, centrally driven approach to protecting our employees’ health and wellbeing.