At the time of this writing, the number of total confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) stands at 82,787, with 46,618 of those confirmed to be active cases and a total of 2,817 for the recorded fatalities. The new strain originating from China makes its way to over 29 countries and territories worldwide.
Many industries have started taking a hit because of this novel virus. In China alone, offices and shops needed to close their doors while quarantine was in effect. Production shortages were expected. Some venues had to be locked down and thus, events such as the Black Hat Conference and Mobile World Conference had to be canceled or postponed.
Organizations around the world are now trying to develop a vaccine or drug for the virus. Until then, individuals and organizations need to take their own precautions such as remote work, in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
Recommended HR Initiatives
An organization’s Human Resources team will be essential in disseminating information to employees and shareholders. They will be responsible for implementing protocols to ensure the safety of each. Implementing the following will be helpful in preventing the further spread of this strain:
- Encouraging the use of masks and making it mandatory for everyone who may have traveled to a country with recorded cases. Management will need to take initiative for everyone to comply.
- The frequency of scheduled cleaning of the business premises can be increased, ensuring a more sanitary environment for everyone.
- Soap and alcohol dispensers must be easily accessible at important points of contact like washrooms, doors, and lobbies.
- Encourage employees who are not feeling well to take their sick leaves.
In the Philippines, this protocol is known as WUHAN:
W – Wash your hands with soap, water or alcohol-based rubs frequently
U – Use face masks properly to avoid catching the illness. Take note of which side should be facing out during use.
H – Have your temperature checked regularly. Comply with the checks issued by establishment security personnel.
A – Avoid large crowds when you are sick.
N – Never touch your face especially when you have dirty hands. Always wash your hands first.
Consider Remote Work
For areas with particularly dense populations and multiple confirmed cases like China, employees are being advised to stay home. It is a good time to practice remote work with the help of collaborative tech platforms like Slack, Zoom or even Google’s suite of services. Working remotely will help prevent the further spread of the virus in the office or during a commute.
Of course, this is not always an easy task. Some industries do rely on having staff at the premises such as traditional retail and manufacturing. Creative fields such as design and marketing could also stumble into a few obstacles as these fields often collaborate in person.
There is also the issue of determining the best ways to monitor employee productivity as well as establishing meaningful boundaries between work life and home life. Managers may be prone to disrupting the flow of work through frequent check-ins. Employees may find themselves distracted by the other tasks within the home.
Proper Training for Remote Work
The key is to implement proper training. After all, the skills and strategies used for effective remote work will be different from the ones needed when working face to face. A greater element of trust is involved as well as proficiency in online platforms. With the right training, a company will be able to function well, despite the ongoing pandemic.
In this instance, China will be an essential case study of what it would be like to implement a wide-scale, remote work initiative for many of its industries.