Managing the Return of Employees Back to the Office – Post Covid-19

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September 18, 2020
Paul Wiederkehr

By Paul Wiederkehr, Product Marketing Manager

In the Spring of this year organizations both big and small across every industry were unexpectedly disrupted by the Covid-19 healthcare pandemic. And during the proceeding months businesses leaders and their teams have worked tirelessly to sustain and maintain business operations to serve and support their valued customers. An enormous challenge created for many an organization was the need to quickly transition employees from an everyday office environment to a Work-from-Home model. That transition was difficult (painful) for many and now organizations, some 5-6 months later, are discussing strategies, protocols, and policies to safely begin welcoming employees back to the office.

A New Challenge

As organizations prepare to bring employees back to the office, it is essential they can ensure the safety and good health of the entire workforce. The CDC, as part of their guidance for reopening businesses, recommends companies follow a hierarchy of controls to protect on-site workers. For business leaders understanding the risks and prudently implementing protocols to promote a healthy workplace is critical to safeguard employees and maintain the integrity and operations of the business.

The CDC recommends the following to promote a safe and healthy environment:

  • Limiting direct and indirect person-to-person contact
  • Identifying and isolating potentially infectious people
  • Increasing hygiene protocols
  • Using personal protective equipment

While each of the CDC recommendations are undeniable, we believe the second bullet – identifying and isolating potentially infectious people – is imperative for organizations to successfully welcome associates back to an office environment.

Deploying a Screening Solution

During recent conversations with security and business leaders, our team was asked how SecureAuth could help ease the challenges associated with back-to-work initiatives. In response, we developed a new functionality enhancing our existing access management solution – the Pre-Login Assessment Service.

The Pre-Login Assessment Service enables organizations to efficiently screen employees regarding their current health status prior to granting access to corporate resources. The assessment front-ends the login process by redirecting the user to a specified URL hosting a landing page with customizable “have you…” type questions.  The yes/no questions are required for each employee before access is granted to any systems, applications, or tools enabling an organization to quickly and efficiently identify if an employee presents a health risk to the workplace with questions such as:

  • Have you been in contact with anyone testing positive for COVID in the past 14 days?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID in the past 14 days?
  • Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID in the past 14 days?

Based on the responses submitted by each employee, the appropriate workflow is then initiated and the employee is prompted to take the necessary next steps. In most cases, the user will not “trigger” a high risk score (i.e. is healthy) and will return to the login page to continue the authentication process to gain access to corporate resources.

In the event an employee triggers a risk score that exceeds the established threshold, the user will be denied login access and will be directed to follow the established protocol. Various dials can be “turned” to customize the workflow to support to support different use cases. For example, an employee working from home and attempting to login may not even be presented the assessment questionnaire because their health (good or bad) will not impact their fellow employees at the office. Or perhaps that same employee is presented the assessment and responds positive to one or more questions triggering a high risk score. But because the associate is self-quarantined, the employee is still permitted to login and access corporate resources though the business is now aware of the employee’s health status. Based on your unique business requirements, workflows can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization.

Enabling a Healthy Workplace

Existing SecureAuth customers can enable the Pre-Login Assessment functionality as part of their standard user login experience and effectively screen employees and identify potential risk. For organizations interested in the assessment capabilities, the SecureAuth access management solution can quickly be integrated into an existing environment to enable the quick and efficient health screening of employees.

The Pre-Login Assessment Service is easy for organizations to set-up and manage and provides a frictionless experience for users. And in support of an organizations’ data policy requirements, all the data generated for each employee assessment remains 100% in your control.  We understand the challenges a return to work initiative presents and we are confident the Pre-Login Assessment Service can help your organization safely welcome employees back to the office and ensure the good health of your people.

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