COVID-19: Maintaining a positive and healthy working environment
In the wake of the International outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the precautions required as outlined by our President during his National Address on 15 March 2020, the day to day operation of most companies will be affected in the coming weeks.
At ASIE Personnel, we view Covid-19 as pushing us to be more adaptable in business. We have implemented some practical tips within our business which we would like to share with you, on how you can maintain a positive and healthy workforce and working environment:
1. Creating Awareness within the workplace
Whilst everyone is in panic mode, a big part is to create awareness within the workplace. General sanitation and hygiene are paramount. Educating the workforce as to what to expect, steps to be taken and ensuring their safety.
2. Open Communication
We encourage transparent and open communication. Management should encourage their employees to discuss and raise any concerns they may have and discuss their own personal circumstances. Discussions should be solutions focused.
3. Social Distancing
Social Distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.
Most businesses have been adaptable and started applying the following to assist with the Social Distancing in the workplace:
– Canceling all international trips
Employees who were scheduled to travel are now grounded unless it’s critical to the business.
– Work from home options
Providing work from home options for employees who can or are in positions where it’s not necessary to be at the office every day.
– Video Calls/Conferencing Meetings/Interviews
Business Meetings and Interviews are now taking place face-to-face via video calls/conferencing. Skype, Zoom, Google Play or Whats App Video Chats are popular options. This limits contact with Final Interviews and important meetings taking place face-to-face.
4. School Closure
Employers should also take note of the fact that schools will close this Wednesday until after Easter weekend. The aforementioned comes as a surprise to employees that have school-going children below the age of 18 that will now have to be accommodated during the extended school holiday. Again, no special leave is applicable for the aforementioned, but employers will be required to reasonably accommodate the absence of parents whose children must be looked after during this period, especially applicable for young children.
Labour legislation does not make provision for emergency sick or annual leave for instances such as the present. Any absence from the workplace without permission must however still be justified by the employee by means of a medical certificate in the event that the employee has been absent from work for more than two consecutive working days or on the third occasion during an eight-week cycle.
Employees should, however, be encouraged to disclose general symptoms of a cold or flu to the HR Department without delay. Such employees will be required to stay at home until such time they are fit to return to work. They will however still be required to justify their absence by means of a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner. Should the employee be able to justify absence from work by means of such a certificate, the period of absence will be paid from the employee’s sick leave entitlement. Should the employee not have sufficient sick leave available, such absence will, unfortunately, be without any remuneration or benefits, unless annual leave is available for payment purposes or if otherwise decided by the employer.
Source/extracts from: Labour Guide
In summary from us: Stay positive, do what you can to stay safe and healthy.
Keep communication open, stay flexible and adaptable in your approach.
Use this opportunity to adapt your business to the 4th IR.