KPMG in Canada is introducing an app to help its employees — and other organizations — manage the return-to-work process.

The workforce safeguarding app, which was launched this week, aims to accelerate the safe return of employees to their physical workplaces. Designed to create connected experiences with staff and promote health and safety, it includes critical information and support, integration with existing technology, an easy-to-use platform to streamline reopening processes and resources to foster employee health, well-being and engagement.

Read: Employee well-being critical to return to work after pandemic

The app was borne out of the challenges around sharing information at the onset of the pandemic. “When the pandemic started, we certainly recognized that there was a lot of information that employees needed to have access to,” says Amanda Perran, partner in advisory services at KPMG. “It was important that we leveraged the available digital technologies that we had at our disposal to share information in a timely manner, but also collect information from them around how they were feeling and any additional support they required.”

It features a notification centre for important news and announcements, a personal risk assessment questionnaire and a daily check-in so employers can monitor employees’ general well-being. It also includes a section for wellness resources.

“The digital app allows employees to receive information from the company and complete any requests they might have . . . . It also provides helpful hints, such as meditation links and things like that,” says Perran.

To introduce the app to employees, KPMG started with a pilot project for employees based in the Greater Vancouver Area, in Ontario (except for the Greater Toronto Area) and in the Atlantic provinces.

Read: Successful return-to-work processes more essential during coronavirus

“We surveyed and were heavily connected to those groups of employees in those two pilot groups,” says Louise Lutgens, senior advisor to KPMG’s chief operating officer for human resources and strategic initiatives. “Feedback is that it’s slick, easy to use and intuitive.”

In terms of KPMG’s return to work, it decided to take a slow and measured approach, she notes. “Our volumes were relatively low, but we did still need to track three scenarios: people who wanted to return to our office; people who needed to go to client sites to perform work; and those who needed to bring a visitor into our office, which was probably the lowest case scenario you would see.”

In all of those situations, adds Lutgens, the organization was putting the necessary protocols and safety guidance in place. “So with the introduction of the app, it became the key tool — as we roll it out across the firm — to help guide those three scenarios.”

In addition, now that the app is available to all KPMG employees, it will be offered to other employers across Canada. Indeed, Perran notes more than 50 employer clients have expressed interest.

Read: Sounding Board: Balancing employee, employer rights in return-to-work plans