Repetition, Hesitation, & Deviation?



22 July 2021

Comedian and presenter Sue Perkins was this week unveiled as the new host of the incredibly long-running comedy panel-show “Just a minute”. 

The show – which has appeared on radio and (less frequently) TV screens for more than half a century – asks panellists to speak for 60 seconds on a given subject without repetition, hesitation, or deviation.  It’s much harder than it sounds, and many a great orator has failed miserably in this quest.

And strangely this rather fun gameshow format seems to have been transformed into a rather less pleasant national trend for the United Kingdom, its employers, and their employees since the start of the pandemic:

  • Repetition:  The periodic rise and fall in COVID-19 cases and associated restrictions
  • Hesitation:  How much (or little) risk should employees and employers take during the pandemic?
  • Deviation:  A national willingness to be diverted from the pandemic media-gloom by other events such as the inspiring fund raising of “Captain Tom” last year, or the European Football Championships that have just concluded.
Ending the repetition?

Yet this COVID repeat-cycle might be about to finally end.

For the removal of all legal restrictions in England from the 19th July 2021 suggests that the key pandemic decisions of the future may become far more about personal and corporate responsibility than state-imposed edict. 

This is the green light that so many businesses and sectors have been waiting for, and accordingly there has been a rush to embrace the commercial opportunities of reopening. 

Yet the breaking of the cyclical elements of the crisis has raised new – and rather unexpected – problems.

The “pingdemic” arrives

In May we wrote of the recruitment and candidate crisis being experienced in some sectors.  And that issue has now been made far worse by the arrival of the (so called) “pingdemic”.  This new media buzzword relates to the numbers of people, households, and employees being required to self-isolate as a result of a notification of proximity to a positive COVID-19 infection.

And the timing of the pingdemic – coinciding as it does with peak annual leave and holiday season – means that employers of all sizes and in many sectors are really struggling to keep their doors open.  And this just as the removal of coronavirus restrictions finally allows them to resume normal business activities. 

This is of course a hammer-blow to many businesses, and is only likely to get worse in the weeks ahead given that daily estimated COVID-19 case numbers may reach 100,000 infections in August.

What can employers do now?

So is there anything that Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing can add to this story right now?

The reality is that escaping the Covid-restrictions cycle was always going to present new challenges for the nation and employers alike, and hopefully the pingdemic issue will be relatively short lived.  But businesses can and should still do what they can to support their workers until the longed-for normality finally returns.

So employers shouldn’t deviate from the advice we have previously (and regularly) provided since the start of the crisis.  It remains really important for employers to continue to deploy and promote all the Employee Benefit tools on offer to help speed diagnosis, treatment, and a return to the workplace, and also to offer the professionals advice, support, and reassurance that employees still need during these uncertain times.

The pingdemic is just the latest challenge for a COVID-19 weary nation, but hopefully one that employers and employees can weather far better if they use the Employee Benefit tools already at their disposal.

For more information on any of the above topics, please speak to your usual Howden Consultant in the first instance, or visit our website for other contact options.  For the latest details on COVID-19 & Employee Benefits provision please visit Howden’s coronavirus hub.

Published 22/07/21

Steve Herbert

Steve Herbert

Steve is Head of Benefits Strategy, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, and is an award-winning thought leader on Pensions, Employee Benefits, and Human Resources issues. He is occasionally accused of making Employee Benefits interesting.

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