Guest contributor Donald Moore, Chair at Rowlinson Knitwear (Written 22 February 2021)
We were lucky to have the chance to establish lateral flow testing in our workplace, and are very grateful to Stockport Council for providing this for us. In fact, we are the first manufacturing organisation to do this in Stockport with the help of the council.
I’ve been thinking about what a great thing it is to help protect our colleagues and their families when we have all seen the tragedy and trauma that the pandemic has caused. It shows that the council really care about the organisations in their community and those employed there.
For those not familiar with workplace testing - this is what we did for a workforce of around 50 people, although some are full or part furloughed (and on 90% of their usual pay). We trained 4 people in order to carry out up to 35 tests and we will be testing our workforce twice a week. Most of the training is undertaken via an e-learning package with an additional offer of face to face training. This is where your team can run through the testing process from registration through to taking a swab, and processing the test with a facilitator on hand.
The council provide all the training, the materials and full PPE and a named Sector Support Officer to guide and support throughout. For us, we had to create a dedicated safe area to carry out the tests, pay for waste removals, and take the time for training and for the tests themselves. The test result is confirmed within 30 mins and sent electronically to track and trace. It is important though that anyone who has symptoms should not come into work and arrange a test at gov.uk or call 119.
I also think about the stories I have heard about, and the ways that poor employment practice can have an impact here. Some employees are being denied the right to take time off work, and many others are not getting paid to self-isolate. This may mean that employees are having to take much needed holiday days to attend Covid testing, or to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks. There is a huge need here to maintain good employment practice, with the opposite likely contributing to rising positive cases.
Simply, if you are a good employer and you have the resources then you should encourage everyone to take a test and self isolate on full pay. You should look to establish lateral flow testing, mobile or on site. You should put the safety and health of all your colleagues first, even if that reduces profits. That’s what being a good employer is all about and your employees will ultimately improve your business with better customer and employee retention, higher productivity, and more profits.
Finally, thank you to Stockport Council and all those heroes who are helping us navigate the pandemic. To learn more about lateral flow testing then contact: email@example.com or contact your local council.
Update (08/03/2021): Every single person (+20) in our building has been tested on every day of the tests. Luckily, and so far, every test has come back negative.
- Business Growth Hub: Coronavirus Testing Guidance for Businesses
- Business Growth Hub: Covid-19 Vaccines - What You Need to Know
- Public Health England: Employers Assets for Workplace Testing
Rowlinson Knitwear are a Member of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter. They produce durable garments suitable for corporate branding and personalisation for schools and clubs.
Their mantra has always been to care about how they do business – including ethical standards and how they interact with their suppliers and customers, and also how they care about each other. As an employee-owned and B-Corp certified business, they strive to put their values at the heart of everything they do.