Prepare, Prevent, Detect: How Employers Can Offer a Safe and Healthy Return to Work


As employees begin to phase out this extended period of remote work and return to places of business, companies are discussing when and how to do it all safely. It is an essential task, and new territory for everybody from employees to human resources (HR) managers.

First, the health and well-being of employees and their families are at stake. Second, there are business risks that employers may miss, from privacy to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) noncompliance.

In the U.S., for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently detailed recommendations to improve safety in office buildings, including conducting checks for temperatures and symptoms. And the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to update its guidelines to employers to balance compliance the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the CDC.

It can be overwhelming for any organization. Many are choosing to adopt an extended period of working remotely with flexible schedules. Companies that have locations in multiple geographies are in vastly different phases and environments. From Asia to Europe, some regions are more aggressive with re-opening.

My first recommendation for customers thinking about bringing their employees back safely to work is to start with a plan that will incorporate HR processes. To help customers across industries and countries navigate this transition, SAP has released key updates to the SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management solution plus partner app Guardian by AlertEnterprise.

Future-Ready SAP Technology for a Safe and Healthy Workplace

At launch, SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits had a specific use case, as evidenced by its name. But working with customers to extend its capabilities, SAP found so many use cases around the tracking of certificates, licenses, credentials and so much more that is especially relevant today. With this solution, users can now control the process for bringing people back into the office while automating enforcement of complex and evolving health and safety policies related to COVID-19 to help protect people.

How These Tools Actually Help 

For a safe and healthy return to work, here’s a three-step approach to get you started.


With SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits, support re-opening while minimizing risks and manage health and safety procedures that govern how employees return to work.

  • Provide a secure way for workers to submit documentation, such as a proof of digital health clearance or credentials, before they return to work.
  • Track health screening costs. Self-service capabilities allow individuals to complete and submit documentation to reduce manual work.
  • Manage sensitive employee medical information. For example, EEOC guidelines point out that ADA requires that medical information about an employee be stored separately from the individual’s personnel file to limit access to confidential information. In other words, instead of storing new medical information in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, this information can be managed in SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits, which helps keep both the data and employees safer.
  • Reduce the risk of incurring stiff financial penalties, such as GDPR non-compliance on “processing of special categories of personal data.” Comply with additional legal regulations and data privacy rules, such as the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act or HIPAA.
  • Configure processes for notifications, approvals, renewals, and more. Dashboards provide insights to compliance and real-time actions allow companies to confidently manage their workforce in a rapidly changing environment.
  • For onboarding, companies have flexibility in streamlining the hiring process so they can start paperwork as early as possible to have new employees hit the ground running.


Bring non-essential workforce back to the office safely with AlertEnterprise Health & Safety Access Governance.

  • Control the number of people on premises, manage access to temporary overflow sites, and enable new shift-working patterns
  • Provide self-reporting and self-attestation with policy-driven controlled reinstatement for access to the workplace. For example, employees and visitors can self-attest whether or not they have a fever, if anyone in their household has tested positive for COVID-19, etc.
  • Manage site entry screenings with self-service for pre-screening, such as temperature checks, with policy enforcements and access governance.
  • Enable badging and security systems to manage workspace access and help ensure company policies are enforced, such as with automatic access removal.


Minimize ongoing risks with AlertEnterprise Health & Safety Intelligence Tracker to keep the workplace safe.

  • Use analytics to track those who have confirmed or potential exposure to COVID-19. The technology helps track a suspected or confirmed infection and identifies people and areas that may have been exposed to the virus.
  • Identify exposed areas for lockdown or sanitization. High-risk areas could then be sanitized and high-risk individuals could have security access revoked.
  • Make decisions through actionable insights, such as exposure levels, location heat maps, and other health and safety analytics.

When it comes to reopening, customers understand that it’s not “business as usual.” They know that reopening is not as simple as choosing a date to open the door and providing hand sanitizer. During this uncertain time, they want to learn how to support health, safety, and security for their employees and customers.

While everyone must play their part by taking personal responsibility, employers can lead the way for a safe and healthy return to work.

Learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits and Guardian by AlertEnterprise works with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central to support the health, well-being, and safety of employees.

Imran Sajid is the global HCM director for SAP SuccessFactors.