23 April, 2020

Since Coronavirus hit the UK, a large amount of data has emerged to help us analyse and understand the situation.


Some of this data has been fairly high level, such as the number of cases and the number of deaths. But some has been more complex and provided more context, such as hospitalisation rate and the impact of co-morbidities on both hospitalisation and fatalities.


Understanding workforce populations


We wanted to use this data to help us understand what it means for individual clients and employee populations, and what we should be doing about it.


Actions taken by governments across the world are starting to pay off in terms of flattening the curve, and will ultimately reduce the number of cases and deaths in the coming weeks.


But as the UK chief medical officer Chris Whitty has pointed out, until a reliable vaccine and/or antiviral treatments are developed, some version of the social distancing restrictions will need to be in place for the foreseeable future – likely for at least 12 months.


We don’t yet know what that will look like, although details will emerge over the coming weeks and months. At Mercer, we are working on using our data on our clients’ populations, together with the external data we have, to inform our actions and what the next year and beyond will look like.


Making the right choices


We are using our data to map out the demographics of our clients’ populations, and starting to understand where the risks are. We can see, for example, how many employees, as well as their partners and dependent families, are in high risk groups as well as where they are located.


We can also see how many have at least one co-morbidity, as well as what they have and how old they are.


This information is useful because it will inform the strategic choices employers will need to make to manage the transition of their workforce over the coming months.


Navigating change


Things are still uncertain, but we are looking at ways to use our data to develop workplace strategies to match the employee population. For example, developing return to work programmes that suit the people they’re designed for, like highlighting at-risk employees who should stay home for longer.


We are also using this data to help re-structure employee benefits and compensation packages such as private medical insurance and life insurance. Organisations need to make the right choices for their workforces in the coming year – our data is helping us answer questions such as whether we should advocate the use of more online GP options or redevelop healthcare pathways for various diseases.


These are complex questions that all employers will need to answer. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but understanding the data in the context of your own population will be key to making the right choices for your business.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of these issues, contact Greg Lugisani on 020 7178 5402. 

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