84% of large businesses and organisations in the UK have lost working days due to a lack of effective contact tracing, according to a new study. The resulting lost productivity is estimated to have cost the country’s economy over £11b in the last 12 months, equivalent to 4.3 million working days.
The study, which looked at 500 UK companies employing over 100 staff, found an average cost of £660,193 per business due to absent workers isolating and waiting for test results, following potential contact with COVID-19. This includes time off for those who thought they might have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for the virus.
According to its research, businesses have on average lost the equivalent of nearly 255 working days due to possible COVID contact, in addition to the average 142 days caused by absent staff with confirmed coronavirus cases.
Amid reports of an estimated 600,000 jobs lost according to UKHospitality, and 14,800 retail store closures because of the pandemic, the research puts into sharp focus the need for efficient, accurate contact tracing if businesses are to remain profitable. However, over a third of businesses (37%) in Britain claim to have found tracking potential contact cases difficult, or very difficult, suggesting more support is required in order to protect companies – and employees – as the world starts operating again post the COVID-19 era. Unsurprisingly, 93% of businesses surveyed said that a tech solution would have prevented days lost to potential COVID contact.
New test and trace technology from Australian company Contact Harald could eliminate this issue – it is already being used in London based businesses.
Nick O’Halloran, founder of Contact Harald, commented:
“More than 80% of businesses lost working days which is cause for concern to any industry expecting to re-open its doors in the coming months. Since our launch in Australia, we have worked with numerous businesses, organisations and governments to help them overcome the operational challenges inherent in lack of adequate tracing solutions. It’s poignant to note similarities between the two countries and use such insights to help UK businesses make a seamless return without hindering productivity. Our aim is to offer a solution which guarantees a peace of mind by easily identifying and isolating only those at risk, enabling businesses to remain open and operational.”