COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, from commute, how to enter workplaces, how to interact with others, manage task distributions, and more. As we define our new normal in a COVID-19 era, workplace health and safety, as well as the importance of strong safety leadership is more critical than ever before. Despite global Coronavirus cases keep increasing, some governments ease lockdown due to the severe impacts of the pandemic on the economy. By reopening businesses, it is expected that the country's economic situation will revive and unemployment could be best minimised. However, is it okay to return to the office where COVID-19 exposure remains high?
If given an option, some employees and employers would choose to stay safe and comfortable by working from home. But, once again, business reopening is necessary for people and countries to continue surviving financially. If your company reopens but you feel uncomfortable to return to work, make sure to implement the following plans:
Staggering people return to work
It is a good idea to provide flexible working arrangements like restoring schedules and changing up employees’ work patterns. For example, allowing a minimum one day a week to go to work or allowing half of employees to work from home and half others from office. Some workplaces have been adopting similar practices. So, why don’t you ask your employers if they could provide one?
Stay out of my bubble
Some employees might be excited to reunite with their colleagues after a long lockdown time - such they can easily ignore the social distancing rules. Yet, the government keeps emphasising that workers still need to follow social distancing to keep each inhouse employee safe. Thus, before returning to work, check with your employers about the social distancing guidelines and follow them.
We have proven that we can work remotely without the wheel falling off. Even though we are transitioning back into the workplace, let’s not be so quick to abandon tools that have helped us connect and stay productive at home. While reduced workers at the workplace allow us to social distance, communication through devices is still preferable since the louder you speak, the more liquid droplets are sprayed from your mouth.
If you are a restaurant or hospitality worker, it is advisable to ask your employers if they have equipment to help communicate with customers safely. It is always important to wear your equipment fully and whole-heartedly.
Stay home if you are sick
This might be a bit cliche, but really we need to slow down the spread of the virus. One person can infect many others in the workplace. Ministers of employment have also been encouraging sick people to stay at home at least 7-14 days. Needless to say, you should check with your HR manager if you are still covered with full pay when forced to stay home due to the virus. Some states have rules that cover full salary for two weeks paid leaves for staying home due to covid illness. If the company does not have an HR manager, you can seek information through the Ministry of Manpower in your area.
Remember to keep your comfort and everyone’s health, everything should be communicated with honesty. If your employers do not comply with the new normal rules, you can always seek legal advice.
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