Table 1:

Benefits and challenges of implementing work bubbles during the COVID-19 pandemic

Public healthBenefits
  • It can reduce the reproduction number of the disease (Figure 1).

  • It can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of track-and-trace systems by providing a tool for immediate removal of at-risk individuals from their employment community.

  • It is a pre-emptive approach to employee contact tracing that reduces spread not only within a company, but also in the surrounding community by providing a tool for early contact isolation.

Challenges
  • It is difficult to enforce.

EmployeesBenefits
  • It is an additional way to protect employees against acquiring COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • It can increase employee confidence in the safety of the workplace.

Challenges
  • It may negatively affect the work schedule.

  • Employees may not be able to interact socially with those outside their work bubble.

  • There may be decreased productivity.

EmployersBenefits
  • If employment bubbles within a business are modular and redundant, specific bubbles can be shut down without disruption to the ongoing business operation as a whole.

  • It allows employers to ensure that they are taking active preventive measures to keep their employees safe.

Challenges
  • It introduces administrative complexity in workforce scheduling.

  • It may be difficult to ensure separation of work bubbles from one another.

  • Note: COVID-19 = coronavirus disease 2019.