Reopening for Business: A COVID Tested Workplace Program

To help businesses reopen safely, CopernicusMD, a leader in medical, laboratory and billing analytics, has launched The COVID Consortium, a one-stop, onsite COVID-19 testing solution to provide employees and customers with confidence to return to the office and reengage in the marketplace.

Led by Brigadier General Nolan Bevins and Dr. Ellen Shaver, The COVID Consortium is a nationwide network of high-complexity molecular and diagnostic laboratories, physicians, clinical specialists, medical staff and business advisors, who are collaborating and pooling their resources from across the U.S. to provide a solution for businesses to access COVID-19 testing to safely return their workforce to the office.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has provided welcomed guidance to employers, stating that they may require employees, even if asymptomatic, to participate in COVID-19 testing before entering the workplace. Even with this guidance, employers are struggling to understand the types of testing needed to help maintain a safe workplace and the availability of testing for businesses.

Over the last six weeks, our team has heard from countless business owners who are confused about the availability of COVID-19 testing, as well as the ongoing safety measures and compliance guidelines they need to put into place to safely reopen their workplaces.

The Consortium’s end-to-end program is easy to launch. It offers COVID-19 testing, as well as expert advice on designing workplace policies to mitigate the ongoing threat of contamination. The Consortium will send a team to your workplace or location of choice to set up a collection site and provide test results within 24-48 hours after your employees’ samples have been collected.

The COVID Consortium laboratories utilize industry leading equipment and other diagnostic tools approved under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They use the most accurate tests currently available: The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and the SARS CoV-2 Antibody tests at scale to detect employee infection.

The Consortium provides a COVID-Tested Workplace Certification to participating companies, which sends a message to their employees, customers and competitors that they have chosen safety as their number one priority.

To learn more about the Consortium’s Certified COVID-Tested Workplace program, email us at or visit our website at

Dr. Hani El Shawa, PhD, CEO of AlphaGenomix and member of The Covid Consortium

Preparing for a ‘New Normal’ in the Workplace post COVID-19

As Americans prepare to get back to work in a ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19, the American workforce will need to navigate and adapt to changes in the workplace. Businesses will rely on various resources to prepare for those changes and best protect their employees and customers. Many employers will also be seeking ways to strengthen their business operations for the future, after the significant disruptions they experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The most immediate priority must be on the health and safety of our workforce. Businesses will rely on resources from experts to ensure that they are taking the appropriate steps to resume their operations safely. Employers should continue to follow the guidance of government and health officials, as well as monitor developments on labor and employment laws. Employers should also take the appropriate measures to establish a safe and healthy place to work to protect the wellbeing of their employees and customers. This may mean a phased approach for reopening with the staggering of employees, reimagined office spaces, implementation social distancing requirements and limiting nonessential business travel.

When considering long term priorities, companies should use the pandemic as an opportunity to reflect on learnings from this situation and make changes with the goal of improving their efficiency. Some examples include investing in their workforce, strengthening their supply chain and continuing to embrace innovative technologies. There will also be opportunities for policymakers to reflect on the challenges from this pandemic and make appropriate changes to policies and programs.

As we move forward and look to the future, we should maximize the opportunities ahead for our country, economy and workforce.

Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners

How Koch Employees Safely and Responsibly Operate During Coronavirus

Every day during this pandemic, employees at Koch companies get up and head to work – whether at home or at our facilities – recognizing that what they do is more essential than ever. Equally vital is the health, safety, and well-being of every employee, their families, and their communities. As director of our environmental health & safety (EH&S) team, I know firsthand that Koch has no higher priority.

Our vision of the role of business in society is helping people improve their lives by providing the products and services they value while using the fewest possible resources. Koch companies and employees have proven their value at one of the most challenging moments in recent memory – including Georgia-Pacific’s tireless production of bath tissue, paper towels, and hand sanitizer; Infor’s top-notch health IT infrastructure directing 85% of all U.S. COVID-19 lab tests; Molex’s manufacturing of critical components for ventilators; and our businesses across the country donating personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers in their communities.

Across the enterprise, teams continue to monitor developments associated with the pandemic and take appropriate measures to ensure employee safety, including staggered shifts, social distancing, and increased hygiene and sanitation in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As more employees shifted to remote work in March, our IT teams leveraged cloud-based technologies to enable streamlined, secure remote work capabilities.

With increased distance between employees both working remotely and on site, it’s even more important for supervisors to check in with their employees to see how they’re doing. It may sound simple, but it can make a world of difference. We recognize that many employees are also caregivers, maybe for an elderly relative or someone who is sick. They may have school-age children who are at home. We want to help them navigate through the personal challenges that they’re facing as well as their responsibilities as employees.

Connecting with folks across the enterprise and in our supply chain to determine best practices has also been essential, in line with our long-term vision. We continue to seek partnerships and opportunities that complement and strengthen our capabilities, and with this long-term focus I am confident that we’ll all emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient. As the world slowly but surely reopens, it’s important we continue to follow guidance from health experts and utilize best practices for the safety of our employees.

-Sheryl Corrigan, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety, Koch Industries

Rebuilding the Economy in a Post-COVID World

The COVID-19 outbreak is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Beyond the public health crisis, the pandemic has severely impacted our economy. As of late April, the U.S. has lost more than 26 million jobs — a staggering number compared to the 15 million jobs lost in the financial crisis of 2008. The projections continue to look dim, with some researchers forecasting the U.S. GDP will plummet an annualized 25% from April through June.

As the curves begin to flatten, we need to look toward rebuilding the economy and getting Americans back to work. Stating the goal is the easy part. Implementing it, not as much. How can we not only rebuild the economy, but strengthen it to guard against future black swan events?

By investing in the workforce.

Many industries have been decimated in recent months and it’s unclear when or if they will fully recover. Of the few industries insulated from the ramifications of COVID-19, only one will continue to grow after the pandemic subsides: the tech industry.

Even during this downturn, there’s still a pressing need for tech workers such as developers, engineers, system administrators, and cybersecurity experts. According to a recent report by the news and research website, there was a significant increase in job postings within the tech industry in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019.

Skills like software and web development will only continue to grow as they enable workers to find meaningful employment in the digital economy. These are stable jobs all over the country and in practically every industry: hospitality, finance, retail, healthcare, government, etc. Furthermore, many tech jobs can be done remotely, so they’re at least somewhat protected from the threat of future outbreaks or related catastrophes.

Prior to COVID-19, we saw rosy reports of record-low unemployment numbers, but those painted only part of the picture. In America, involuntary part-time work is 40% higher than a normal economy should allow. Approximately 1.4 million U.S. workers are stuck in part-time jobs, fighting for fiscal survival. Cracks in the economy were showing long before COVID-19 reached our shores.

This is why I believe that returning to the status quo should not be our goal. Rather, it should be retraining our workforce and equipping workers with 21st century skills.

How can we accomplish this? There’s no silver bullet, but many promising options exist:

  • Apprenticeships: workers get paid to learn new skills without incurring student debt, and employers save money on recruitment costs. It’s a win-win. With the apprentice system, businesses can build powerful bases of qualified and effective employees from the ground up.
  • Sabbatical retraining programs: turn what was traditionally reserved for tenured employees into an option to retain employees from all levels. The price tag of rehiring talent as the economy bounces back will be staggering. Instead, we can invest in reskilling current employees to fill vacant roles.
  • Incentives: reworking federal incentives such as Pell grants, the American Opportunity tax credit, and student loan programs is long overdue. This is the perfect opportunity to expand the purview of these programs to include accelerated vocational training and other programs that prepare workers for the digital economy. This investment will pay dividends because as workers’ salaries increase so do their tax brackets and amount due come Tax Day.

Admittedly, reskilling the American workforce would require a large financial investment upfront. Major changes to legislation and large-scale programs always entail great expense at first. But successful public policy is defined over the long term.

With thoughtful planning and proper execution, we can produce inestimable benefits for American workers and companies alike.

Richard Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of Coding Dojo

Essential Business Lessons from the Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 is a public health crisis impacting all aspects of society and business. The pandemic has forced companies globally to change how they run their businesses.

In the short term, as businesses begin to reopen and adapt back to normal operations, companies should focus on three core elements of their business.

  1. Workforce: Make sure your employees are healthy.
  2. Customers: Do whatever it takes to care for your customers.
  3. Society:  Care for your communities wherever your business operates.

In the long term, businesses need to prepare for future global disruptions, which can happen at any time. This pandemic caused companies to accelerate their digital transformation. Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have already been transforming business and society in radical ways.

Business leaders that have embraced the role of emerging technologies allow their companies to compete more effectively. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the companies that have enabled their digital enterprises, such as e-commerce and businesses focused on connectivity technology, have been able to adapt and operate much better throughout this crisis than those companies who have not. Companies should learn from these best practices and invest in their digital operations to create a more agile and efficient operation, such as leading a digital supply chain.

The same applies to public services. Our institutions and systems of governance can be made radically more responsive and effective through emerging technologies. Communities around the world have used AI/ML to provide more efficient services to their constituents – from waste recycling in Seoul, to flood management in Calgary, to energy usage in Atlanta, to traffic management in Darmstadt, to electronic medical records in Kanazawa.

We know that global disruptions can happen at any time. Being prepared for disruptions is key to overcoming these challenges and keeping our operations, as well as society, strong.

Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, The Center for Global Enterprise