No one wanted a second lockdown – but employers can help reduce the impact

Since 2004, FirstCare has supported large organisations to reduce lost working days. During the pandemic, its service has taken on greater significance – giving leaders real-time insight to plan and mitigate risk, alongside 24/7 nurse-led wellbeing support, boosting workforce resilience

By the time this is published, the UK will be back under national lockdown. The country has struggled to balance health and economy in the face of a resurgent pandemic, and hopes of getting back to ‘normal’ by Christmas may be in question. But FirstCare believes a united effort to support one another – including in the world of work – could, at least figuratively, bring us closer sooner.

Since 2004, we’ve supported large UK organisations to reduce lost working days – many in industries that have redefined the term ‘key worker’ in recent months. NHS trusts, councils and emergency services of course, but also online supermarkets, transport networks, and utility providers. In these essential industries, unless people attend, the essential work doesn’t get done.

In the month to come, such workers will again be exerted to unusual pressures – risk, insecurity, and lack of motivation among them. We’re working with business leaders to relieve those challenges, supporting wellbeing and boosting productivity, through Covid and beyond. 

Until a vaccine or widespread testing is available, Covid-related absence is inevitable. But our real-time data has remained invaluable for innovative employers. It’s given HR teams insight to plan and redeploy staff. It’s alerted health and safety teams to isolate and deep clean premises. And it’s given NHS trusts accurate workforce Covid figures for daily reports to the government.  

Moreover, members have the reassurance of 24/7 nurse-led phone support. Besides consistent triage and guidance, we offer an impartial ear without time limits. Staff get the right support without delay, and when the time is right, we help them return to work – safely. 

To learn more, join our free learning programme showcase – Building a resilient organisation: workforce wellbeing and productivity beyond Covid – at this year's CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition. The session is on Wednesday 11 November at 1.30pm, and will be hosted by journalist, author and BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Matthew Gwyther.