Safety and privacy often are seen in opposition to one another in a workplace environment. Right now, intense debates swirl around reconciling the two amid the COVID pandemic. All too frequently, the knee-jerk reaction of companies large and small is to treat safety and privacy as mutually exclusive — to prioritize the one all too often implies relinquishing one’s rights to the other.
This is unacceptable. It’s possible — in fact, essential — to realize both of these goals simultaneously.
In a blog post touting their recent study, “Forged by the Pandemic: The Age of Privacy,” Cisco’s Director of Data Privacy, Robert Waitman, states that, “While individuals supported employers’ efforts to maintain a safe workplace, they were much less enthusiastic about location tracking or disclosing any information about infected people.”
The key to a successfully deployed contract tracing solution — empirically proven as one of the leading technical solutions to COVID spread in the workplace — is transparent understanding and buy-in at the associate level. This enables employers to set safety measures consistently protecting the workforce, while also tightly controlling privacy protecting the individual.
Waitman concludes: “The days of thinking about privacy as merely a compliance issue are over. Forged by the pandemic, privacy has become an essential priority for management, employees, and customers alike.”
We couldn’t agree more.
As posited by our CIO Bryant Eadon on the StrongArm Blog:
Conversations in and around personal health and privacy can be complex. At StrongArm, you’ll find a focus on the principles of data stewardship, belief in empowering our customers with critical information about their workforce, transparency in data analytics, and expertise in the government and regulatory space.
In the face of the pandemic and beyond, worker privacy must become a core tenant of your organization because of the need to prioritize safety, not despite it.