It is needless to say that Covid-19 has brought a drastic change in our lives, be it the personal front or the professional front. Our concerns with our physical health have taken a leading position in our priority list. It is thus evident that we would not be very comfortable going back to the workplace with the same ease as before. As a matter of fact, it is within our rights to enquire and ascertain whether or not our companies are complying with the COVID-19 workplace safety measures.
Considering this is a contagion, we cannot and should not take any risks while carrying out our professional responsibilities. If you are fortunate, you can go for the ‘work from home’ option; but not all are equally privileged. With the opening up of workplaces, even though with a restricted number of employees, the peril of being exposed to the pandemic increases. I understand that the employers are doing their bit by adhering to the guidelines given by the governments, yet you must, by all means, get an assurance that you are going to be safe. It surely will not be a cakewalk to talk to your boss about it, but that should not deter you from checking up in things.
According to the prescribed COVID-19 workplace safety criteria, the first and foremost thing is sanitization. Irrespective of the size of the place of work, having hand sanitizers and hand-wash at the point of entry is a compulsion. If possible the employers should arrange for full-body sanitization equipment, so that the employees can walk in free of any virus.
Next, there should be an arrangement for conduction rapid health checks again at the time the employee is about to enter. Here, I am talking about the thermal scanning equipment, that records the current body temperature of the individual entering. In case anyone is found with a temperature that is higher than usual, the authorities should not delay in asking the person to go back home or better still, get tested clinically.
The management team of your office should make the wearing face masks and hand-gloves a compulsion; in fact, a protocol ought to be made, whereby anyone without the two, will not be allowed to enter the premises. Further, enquire if the complete workforce is being deployed; because if it is so, then maintaining social distance becomes a challenge. Talk to your employer about the alterations they can make at the office to adhere to this norm so that you are at minimum risk of exposure.
Every business entity that wishes to resume normalcy in functioning has to be extremely careful in ensuring the complete protection of its employees. Alerting the employees frequently of the need to thus stay at their own work stations and not socialize as they did earlier, is among the responsibilities of the owners.
If your residence is far from the workplace, you could ask the employer to provide transportation facilities, because you would not want to avail any public transportation at a time like this. If they are not able to do so, you might want to request for an extended work from home option. I wouldn’t deny that the employers are usually known to have the upper hand, and they may intend to lay you off for this reason. However, there are a few places that have given added advantages to the employees this time and protected their right to want to stay away from the workplace. But if you do not belong to a place that has such rights reserved for its employees, you could approach the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Put forward your case; if you feel your boss is not acting reasonably and responsibly, they will surely assist you.
It is never wrong to ask for protection of your physical, psychological as well as financial health from your employer. Just as the school authorities are responsible for the health of their students; it is the foremost duty of every employer to pay close attention to this requirement of his employees in these moments of crisis. Communication is the only way any business owner can know and look to the needs of the employees. Talking to the employees to know about their concerns ought to be the initial steps in this process, based on those the employer could design the functioning of the commercial concern.
Your employer must understand that helping you in maintaining your mental health is very important to facilitate the effective and optimum functioning of his business. So go ahead and discuss your problems with the management. If you are in touch with your immediate manager that would also serve the purpose; but not voicing your dilemmas with regard to your workplace is not going to help fight this pandemic.
It is easy to cut down on the number of employees, but the employers must realize, it is because of the contribution of the workers that the company is running successfully. Hence, maintaining COVID-19 workplace safety should top their priority list. The HR team can work wonders in sustaining this psychological need; that is from where an employer can draw his support. Provision of mental health services will, in turn, help an employer get back his workforce onto their feet again very soon. The disparity between the employee and the employer, however, will only make this cross heavier to carry.
As an employee, you should know that the current pandemic situation has literally forced the shut down of non-essential businesses. Now, if you happen to belong to the sector of essential businesses, you still have the right to ask for an exemption from being present at the workplace. At the same time, though, it is your duty too to continue to offer your services to your employer remotely. I would say, dedication, is the keyword of the times, both on the part of the employer and the employed. Desperate times indeed call for desperate measures, but what cannot be neglected in unity. It is only when you are on the same page as the other that goals can be realized and enemies fought. So, lets battle this invisible foe together!
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