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In this time of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: the workplace of the future will look different than it does today. For some companies, offering telecommuting continues to be a viable option. At the other end of the spectrum, some employers will likely continue to require high physical proximity working environments for the foreseeable future.

NCCI conducted interviews with several industry professionals to better understand what the future workplace might look like and how new challenges are being addressed.

In speaking with interviewees, NCCI consistently heard that employers have taken similar measures and developed multifaceted risk mitigation strategies, such as:

– – Working remotely when possible
– – Applying social distancing
– – Conducting health/symptom screenings
– – Cleaning and disinfecting
– – Implementing workspace layout changes
– – Limiting visitors

Some employers were able to move to a full telecommuting model within a very short time, while others used what might be called a “hybrid” approach; that is, implementing safety controls for jobs that must be performed onsite, while encouraging telecommuting for employees who can effectively perform their jobs from home.

Employers are looking for ways to reduce travel and human-to-human contact, which may impact workplace congestion, shift work, group training, overnight travel, and the use of cleaning chemicals and tools/equipment. New technologies are enabling more physical distancing to address infectious disease prevention.

Examples include virtual meetings and training sessions, as well as touchless transactions, touchless printing, and wearable technology that supports contact tracing and signaling to prevent close physical proximity.

Insurance companies have many interactions with their customers in various ways, which are critical in this time. Insurers’ roles involve exposure assessment, claims mitigation, loss prevention, audits, etc. Insurers indicated that they are taking similar proactive approaches and have already started to develop new evaluation methods to address physical proximity exposures, while simultaneously providing education and services to their customers.

Examples include using telesurveys and virtual visits for analysis, loss prevention, and audit services to cut back on in-person activity. One insurer noted that policyholders have expanded the duties of their employees to an all-hands-on-deck approach due to workforce cutbacks.