The Return to Work survey from risk management firm International SOS found over 70 per cent of companies surveyed showed concerns of a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are surprised that, while the great majority of companies are fearing a second wave of COVID-19, there are many who still don’t have a pandemic plan in place,” said International SOS regional medical director Dr Mark Parrish.
Despite these fears, 21 per cent of respondents said they still don’t have a pandemic plan and process in place.
Country lockdowns (67 per cent) and international border restrictions (57 per cent) were the next most cited concerns of businesses.
This was followed by mental health issues, with over 20 per cent expecting it to pose a major threat in the coming year, despite over 17 per cent saying mental health issues had already impacted the continuity of their business operations.
“The issue of mental health potentially being a major threat to business resilience has been brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Parrish said.
“Home working, isolation and the stress of the unknown is taking its toll on many of the workforce. It will be important to address this going forward, extending confidential support to employees whenever and wherever they need it the most.”
In terms of priorities of businesses implementing return-to-work measures, the top two priorities were the updating of business continuity plans (60 per cent) and on-the-ground support for colleagues (59 per cent), followed by implementation of COVID-19 compliance monitoring tools (56 per cent), health screening (50 per cent) and mental health support (44 per cent).
“We should be mindful that there may be a layering of issues, such as security incidents and concurrent health issues, which all need to be addressed alongside the continuing pandemic and as we return to work and operations,” Dr Parrish said.
“There are ‘low hanging’ initiatives that seem to come further down the priority list but could be major risk mitigation assets.”
The survey is based on responses from over 1,000 professionals responsible for supporting the health, safety, security and wellbeing of employees.