Duty of Care and the Great Dispersion
What is the great dispersion?
The great dispersion is a reference to the restructuring of the workforce as a result of COVID-19 in 2020.
Dispersion is “the reshaping of distribution removing unnecessary friction and cost,” according to Scott Galloway, author of Post Corona. With the pandemic, many students and employees shifted from an office or a school setting to a work-from-home environment.
According to Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report, before COVID-19 about 12.3% of the workforce in the US worked remotely, and as of December 2020 41.8% of Americans were working remotely. That’s almost a 30% increase!
According to the United States Census Bureau, almost “93% of people in households with school-age children reported their children engaged in some form of “distance learning” from home”.
This dispersion of the workforce, from the office building, schools, to individual homes, changes the dynamic and risks associated with duty of care. How can employers and educators address the safety of their employees and students when they are not in the building?
Safety concerns are at an all-time high. The legality and morality of an employer’s responsibility to their employees in providing a safe work environment is more important than ever, wherever that work environment may be. That same responsibility holds true for educators and their student populations.
What does an employer’s duty of care look like in a post-pandemic world where 1 in 4 Americans will work from home (CNBC)?
The Evolving Role of Duty of Care
This shift in the work environment also means a shift in duty of care responsibilities.
What started as a common law principle in the early 19th century, is now more than a simple legal responsibility – it is your responsibility to protect your employees and students from unnecessary risk or harm, wherever they may be learning, teaching, or working. In the past employers would typically address Duty of Care with technology solutions from mass notification solutions.
This one dimensional solution is no longer sufficient.
Use Cases – Duty of Care with Remote Working and Learning
The world of remote learning and working is complex. The campus environment has always been mobile, with educators, students, and employees working remotely or traveling for different conferences and events. With COVID-19 and increasing political unrest, this mobility has increased exponentially along with the risks. Knowing the location of your educators, students, and employees has become an increasingly important and complex issue.
How do you respond when…
- A political protest turns violent?
- Internet chatter suggests campus locations within a broad geography will be targeted?
- An active shooter event on or near your campus forces a lock-down?
- A gas-leak impacts one location but not others?
- An employee, educator, or student tests positive for COVID-19?
You want your educators, students, and employees to be protected from harm. You need to know where your educators, students, and employees are located, and have a plan of action for all potential threats and disasters.
Duty of care has real life implications, wherever your people are learning, teaching, or working.
COVID-19 is now a commonplace threat with over 24 million confirmed cases in the United States (WHO). Notifying all your educators, students, and employees who may have been exposed is essential so that they can take the necessary precautions.
If there is a threat on campus such as an active shooter, do employees and students working from home need to be notified? This could potentially cause an unnecessary panic. You need to be able to quickly and efficiently notify those who may be at risk and make sure they are safe. Knowing physically where your employees and students are primarily located, where they are located at this precise moment, and where they are expected to be located are vital to providing adequate duty of care.
Do you know where your educators, students, and employees are located at all times? With in-person classes, remote learning, and office staff, you have a “Duty of Care” to uphold to keep your people safe, educators, students, and employees, while maintaining their privacy.
Who “Owns” Duty of Care
Does your school have a person or persons dedicated to providing duty of care? Larger institutions often have specific employee safety positions, although it varies between organizations. These positions often have titles such as Risk Management, Emergency Preparedness, EHS (employee health and safety), and BC/DR (business continuity and disaster recovery). However every person in a management position should keep duty of care in mind. For example, if you are currently managing educators and students engaged in remote learning, during the pandemic, then it is your responsibility to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to the best of your abilities. You need to be aware if your people are travelling to areas that are high risk for COVID-19. You need to know who is on campus and when, even if it’s “just to pick something up”, in order to mitigate the risk of cross contamination.
Every organization relies on human resources to provide duty of care. HR works closely with every part of the organization and every employee, meaning for any company-wide duty of care issues they are responsible for coordinating solutions. The HR department of your company should have, and be comfortable using, an emergency communication system. HR should also be in charge of all initiatives and internal communication regarding duty of care. Communication is key when it comes to fulfilling duty of care.
Every organization must anticipate, monitor, communicate, and respond when it comes to safety and security. Even in an environment where educators, students, and employees are dispersed, such as remote learning, and can no longer be protected as they were by campus security, the same four pillars apply. Kinetic Global leverages every technological advantage cooperatively so that businesses and people are secure wherever they are, and feel that way too.
The best protection is prevention. This is where anticipation comes in. Kinetic Global maps current and forecasted threat flash points sourced from global intelligence agencies, hundreds of threat analysts, and communities worldwide.
Monitoring is all about augmented awareness. Across the parking lot, between buildings, and over borders Kinetic Global can monitor the status and location of any asset, anywhere — with military-grade accuracy. Customizable with monitoring modules that cover your needs.
It all comes down to communication. Bilateral communication capabilities increase awareness while helping educators, students, and employees feel more safe and better supported. Automatically request responses from people within a threat radius. Check-in and provide intelligence and logistical assistance until all assets are secure. In the event of a personal distress alert Kinetic Global sends identifying details and an exact location to emergency responders so you don’t have to.
For the worst case scenario, you want the best possible response. Our Global Security Response Centers make over 4,000 outbound calls daily in response to our users. Equipped with military-grade encryption, our medical, security and safety protocols are at the ready for any unforeseen eventuality.
The Impact of Duty of Care
It’s more than a duty to care.
“Kinetic Global ensures our employees are safe without compromising their privacy,” said Mark Sanna, VP of Global Security, HYATT HOTELS CO.
Showing your educators, students, and employees that you proactively care about their wellbeing, safety, and privacy – particularly in the face of a global pandemic is good for maintaining morale, supporting loyalty, and retention.
What risks do your employees face? Are you prepared to keep them safe from whatever threat or disaster may come their way?
Kinetic Global offers radical protection and a world of intelligent safety and unparalleled security.