The COVID-19 crisis forced organizations worldwide to make immediate decisions about how to protect their employees from a mysterious, fast-spreading, sometimes deadly pathogen. Among their actions were requiring employees and customers alike to wear face coverings, deploying testing, adopting best hygiene practices, rolling out health monitoring and reporting apps, and encouraging people to work from home. In short, businesses quickly acted on the social determinants of health by adapting policies and physical environments to protect employee and customer well-being.
Once largely the purview of governments and social services organizations, social determinants of health in recent years have begun to draw employers’ attention. As a 2019 PwC report notes, businesses have a role to play, not just as individual actors addressing the social factors affecting their workers’ health, but as partners in collaborations addressing community-wide needs. The COVID-19 outbreak intensifies the urgency for employers to address these issues. That’s because beyond