Taking the temperature of America as we reopen the economy

by | Apr 22, 2020 | Business Process

It’s late April 2020, and the past five weeks feel like an eternity has passed. Taking a casual stroll with a colleague from our HQ in the office parks of San Jose, California, to the local Starbucks a distant memory. Dropping into the CEO’s office to sanity check the latest crazy marketing idea is no more. These encounters of circumstance where great ideas take seed are gone, replaced with video meetings, phone calls, and online chats. Exactly when we will all return to work and reopen the economy seems very unclear.

Psychologists have models to explain stages of grief or mourning. Starting with shock and denial and eventually concluding with acceptance and hope. The coronavirus economic shutdown has no doubt caused a great deal of shock, pain, and anger for a large number of people. The recovery is likely to be lengthy and slow for the economy and humans.

I count myself more blessed than the more than 26 million Americans who filed unemployment claims in the past few weeks. I have a job at a great company, doing important work with other companies building America. From the agriculture and produce businesses that feed America, to contractors defending the nation, to biotech firms racing to create large-scale coronavirus and COVID-19 testing capabilities.

The pride felt working at a company like ZAG is significant. I consider it my personal responsibility to work with the company’s leadership to solve the pressing questions of how our firm helps reopen America.

Reopening America

The most pressing concern I have right now is how we reopen the millions of small businesses around the nation who employ nearly 50% of the country’s workforce (PDF)? How do we get people back to work while protecting their safety and the safety of their customers? What does the “new normal” look like?

“Taking the temperature of the American people is one way we will be able to reopen the economy.”

Taking the temperature of the American people is one way we will be able to reopen the economy. This isn’t a new idea, but it is very obviously one that will happen. Those in our governments thinking ahead are already saying that we should expect to have our body temperature taken in some circumstances. The only question is, at what scale?

My view is that it will be widespread. Not because ZAG has anything to sell (more on a free solution in a moment), but because a raised temperature is an indicator of ill health. Forget COVID-19 for a moment, if that’s at all possible, why wouldn’t businesses test for temperature during the nearly five months of the year where tens of thousands of people die from influenza? (For clarity, I’m not comparing novel coronaviruses to the flu.)

Considerations for testing temperature

How do small businesses test for the temperature of their employees and customers?

This is as much a process issue as it is a technology issue. Technology options range from handheld temperature “guns” that could be used in restaurants to semi-portable stations in your small business’s office lobby. More substantial walkthrough screening stations will be used in high trafficked industries like manufacturing, airports, or sporting arenas.

The more important questions employers need to ask involve issues like:

  • Data retention
  • Data security
  • Employee privacy
  • Impact of government regulations like HIPAA compliance

Software solutions will play an important role. Some questions you should be ready to answer:

  • Should your business retain actual temperature data?
  • Is it enough to simply prove that a scan was done and that the worker was either in or out of the mandated range?
  • If data is retained, how is it managed between capture and retention in systems of record like ERPs and HR and timeclock applications?

Whatever the answer for your business, you have to start by capturing and recording the data. Hardware to capture, software to record. To this end, ZAG’s Business Applications team built a lightweight, health check application to help maintain the safety of your people and the biosecurity of your business.

“Everyone at ZAG is asking what we as individuals and as a company will be remembered for in 2020.”

In the spirit of entrepreneurialism and reopening America, the application is available at no cost while we learn more about the needs of our clients and businesses more broadly. It’s a self-service app that takes a few hours of engineering time to setup and customize to your requirements. It takes advantage of devices you likely already own, allows you to become compliant overnight, and provides an audit trail for future reference as needed. The app presently writes to SharePoint, Google Sheets, and SQL databases.

If you are already thinking ahead to how you reopen your business, reach out to our team to discuss how we can help you achieve that objective.

Everyone at ZAG is asking what we as individuals and as a company will be remembered for in 2020. Our hope is that we played a role in the economic reopening of America.

Related Content