Businesses will have to find new ways of monitoring and managing sickness absence as a result of the pandemic, one of the country’s most senior scientists has said.
As society adapts to the “new normal”, working patterns will change and people will be much less likely to go to the workplace if they are suffering from a minor illness like a cough or a cold, according to Professor Dame Angela McLean.
Dame Angela told the Science and Technology Select Committee that coronavirus vaccines would not be enough for life to return to normal.
Dame Angela said: “Vaccines alone won’t be enough for a complete return to how we used to behave.
“I think it is quite unlikely that we will return completely to the way we behaved in February 2020. There are things we used to do that I suspect we won’t do anymore.
“I suspect we will not go to work if we have a respiratory virus. I think it’ll be socially unacceptable to go work with a cough.”
Across the UK people have been asked to “work from home” where they can in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Asked if this would be mandated in certain circumstances, Dame Angela said it would be “most powerful if it simply became socially unacceptable to go to work with a cough”.
She said: “There are certain illnesses that you can’t go to work with at the moment, so if you have a tummy upset or something like that would be very powerful.
“Certainly we would not want people to be going out if they know they have Covid and that makes a big difference to transmission,” she added.