April 12, 2021

UK Businesses lose 4.3million working days due to COVID isolation

84% of large businesses and organisations in the UK have lost working days due to a lack of effective contact tracing[1], according to a new study commissioned by Contact Harald, a pioneering contact tracing tool. The resulting lost productivity is estimated to have cost the country’s economy over £11bn[2] in the last 12 months, equivalent to 4.3 million working days[3].

The study, which looked at 500 UK companies employing over 100 staff, found an average cost of £660,193 per business due to absent workers isolating and waiting for test results, following potential contact with COVID-19. This includes time off for those who thought they might have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Contact Harald was born out of Australia’s booming tech sector in response to the COVID crisis, using wearable Bluetooth technology to provide optimal contact tracing support across any industry, protecting employees and their public data whilst safeguarding the day-to-day productivity of businesses. According to its research, businesses have on average lost the equivalent of nearly 255 working days due to possible COVID contact, in addition to the average 142 days caused by absent staff with confirmed coronavirus cases.

Amid reports of an estimated 600,000 jobs lost according to UKHospitality, and 14,800 retail store closures because of the pandemic, the research puts into sharp focus the need for efficient, accurate contact tracing if businesses are to remain profitable. However, over a third of businesses (37%) in Britain claim to have found tracking potential contact cases difficult, or very difficult, suggesting more support is required in order to protect companies – and employees – as the world start operating again post the COVID-19 era. Unsurprisingly, 93% of businesses surveyed said that a tech solution would have prevented days lost to potential COVID contact.

Nick O’Halloran, founder of Contact Harald, commented: “More than 80% of businesses lost working days which is cause for concern to any industry expecting to re-open its doors in the coming months. Since our launch in Australia, we have worked with numerous businesses, organisations and governments to help them overcome the operational challenges inherent in lack of adequate tracing solutions. It’s poignant to note similarities between the two countries and use such insights to help UK businesses make a seamless return without hindering productivity. Our aim is to offer a solution which guarantees a peace of mind by easily identifying and isolating only those at risk, enabling businesses to remain open and operational.”

“Our research found that businesses could have reduced the amount of days lost as result of potential COVID by a third (33.5%) – if they had their affairs in order through contact tracking technology. Tech solutions could therefore have saved businesses at least 1,451,170 lost working days[4],” continues Contact Harald’s Founder and Head of Product, Matt Denton. “Contact Harald is a really simple, effective way to keep workers in any industry safe, whatever size or location, while still preserving privacy. Employees are given a card to keep on their person, and if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 occurs, an authorised user within the business anonymously notifies anyone potentially affected to isolate.”

[1] Survey of 500 18+ decision makers in UK companies and organisations with 100+ employees in March 2021.

[2] There were 20,150 business with 100+ employees in 2020: https://www.statista.com/statistics/675750/number-of-businesses-by-number-of-employees-in-the-united-kingdom/#:~:text=Number%20of%20businesses%20by%20enterprise%20size%20in%20the%20UK%202020&text=In%202020%2C%20the%20vast%20majority,employed%20more%20than%20500%20people. 84.4% of businesses confirmed lost working days to self isolation/possible COVID exposure = 17,007 were affected. Mean cost is £660192.98 so 17,007 x £660192.98 = £11,227,902,010.86

[3] Assuming 17,007 businesses were affected (as per previous calculations) x 254.71 average number of working days lost due to potential contact and waiting for COVID tests  = 4,331,852.97.

[4] Assuming 17,007 businesses were affected (as per previous calculations) x 254.71 average number of working days lost = 4,331,852.97. 33.5% of 4,331,852.97 = 1,451,170.