After government has made it amply clear that nation has to learn to live with Covid-19, it should be clear to one and all now that the lockdown to break the back of deadly virus would not continue for forever. The government is already allowing some offices to start their work. And some Real estate and Charted Accountant firms as publication houses have opened their offices, at least, partially.And as recently as couple of days ago, the government indicated that Public transport will soon begin rolling. While talking to transporters, Union Minister Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari assured them that public transport to start with some restrictions. So now it is written on the wall that offices to open sooner rather than later. After all, government cannot afford indefinite lockdown.
Now, onus would be on Corporate houses and their HR departments to ensure that spread of COVID-19 does not take place. All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. As situation is still very serious, employers should ensure that sick employees to stay home.
Noida based research firm ‘Project Backlinks’ has prepared an in-depth paper that can work as a guideline for all Corporate houses across the worlds as to how they should operate in the times of Covid 19. The major recommendation of the report says: “Employees who have symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath should notify their supervisor and stay home,” adding “, Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with doctors and state and local health departments.”
It goes without saying that new order would be tough to start with as employers/ employees have to adjust to new situation. However, the problem is not confined to India alone. Corona has changed the life and the thinking of people across the globe.
Project Backlinks study says that it is important to Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. “ Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use. ”Says Avtar Singh Sohal, a Nairobi based Indian origin hockey player and a businessman, “While they are maintaining social distancing and wearing masks as and when going out of the house, almost all the governments in Arica are going to open offices in phased manner very soon.” That means the world would come out of their homes and do business as usual. After all they have no choice.
So as the buzz will return in work places across the globe, it is imperative for all of us to avoid large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
Well, it is the collective responsibility to keep at bay the Covid-19. So, employees can take steps to protect themselves at their offices and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications. Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are unwell. Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick too.
Having said that corporate houses should also treat their employees in a human manner. They should sack them or treat them harshly as situation is very tough. “Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.”
Those who manage the day to day affairs of offices are duty bound to ensure that “employees wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.” Spare a thought what would happen to business if many employees suddenly take leave. In the backdrop of this possibility,
“Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members. Therefore, you have to plan, monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.”
It is very important to remember that while offices would be opened soon, but life won’t go as it used to be. Everybody has to make huge adjustments. While we are averse to change, this time the Covid-19 is not giving any chance. We have to change to survive. Otherwise, it would be all over. Sorry to say it is not an ordinary situation. The good thing is that we adjust and change ourselves according to needs; it would go a long way for us. We have to be very judicious in deciding our programmes in terms of attending a social function.“Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the society have on you”.
Finally, you are welcome to new and not very happy world. If you make some adjustments, you would conquer the Covid-19 even before we see the vaccine for it.