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#BTColumn – COVID-19 workplace issues

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the writer(s) don’t represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.

by Dennis DePeiza

For the past two and a half years, workplaces have been thrown right into a state of disarray, as they’ve needed to take care of several imposed and constant changes to Emergency Management Protocols and Directives.

The appropriateness of those measures within the initial stages, can’t be questioned, as they were being applied at a time of gross uncertainty, while within the onset of a pandemic.

The choice to act out of an abundance of caution, could have led to several frustrations within the business, industrial world and to social life. Two years down the road, there’s the relief of some measures. Although these are welcomed in some quarters, there are still concerns being raised regarding the draw backs that live on.

Those within the business and industrial world, should be elated on the indisputable fact that there’s a return to a way of normalcy. The positive comments on the uptake in business, comes like music to the ears.

The non-wearing of mask outdoors, the choice at hand sanitize and the removal of the three feet social distancing rule, are signs of progress. Employers’ biggest challenge, could also be that of experiencing disruption in manpower availability.

This comes as a consequence of the policy that requires employees who’ve tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, to stay in home isolation for a period of seven days. Employers can take some consolation within the indisputable fact that the variety of days of home isolation, have now been reduced from ten to seven days in Barbados.

The importance attached to a period of isolation is comprehensible. There may be also the fact that this translates into a discount of productivity. The magnitude of the issue may present itself where there’s a multiplying effect.

This will present itself where there are repeated instances of a person or small clusters of individuals, contracting the COVID 19 virus throughout the workplace. The once touted each day testing of employees has long been dismissed. This has been proven to be a costly exercise and the accuracy of the rapid test has been found wanted.

The extent of exposure of employees to the virus, stays high inside any place of job. There are not any guarantees that any business place is safeguarded from the intrusion of the virus.

While employers are accountable for providing a protected administrative center, they’ve their work cut out, in the event that they are to try to guarantee this to employees and customers. It’s for employers to insist on the next of the COVID 19 protocols throughout the workplace by members of staff, customers, clients and users.

Members of staff as an alternative of difficult the directives of the management, ought to indicate a greater sense of responsibility and follow the instructions of the workplace. If the elimination of mask-wearing indoors is to turn out to be a thing of the past, as most would desire, the exercise of a bit patience and discipline is all that’s required.

Workplaces are supposed to be peace zones, places where there’s cooperation, understanding and togetherness. COVID-19 could have added one other layer to the divisions that exist inside some workplace, because the blame game becomes the order of the day.

There may be finger-pointing as to which worker brought the virus into the workplace. This may hardly help to construct morale and confidence amongst the members of staff. The resentment which surfaces is subsequently to not be encouraged.

Employers, management, supervisors and individual members of staff are to bear in mind that team-building cannot happen in an environment of hostility. Whether it is that a person undertakes to scorn one other who contracted the COVID-19 virus, then it becomes clear that the enterprise or organization has problems.

Because the world slowly returns to a state of normalcy, the specter of COVID-19 will diminish. Living with COVID can be a component of life going forward. What’s learnt from the experience, is what should matter most.

It’s a timely reminder to employers, management and employees, that safety and health within the workplace are usually not to be limited to the known, but additionally to the unknown.

Using this as a tenet, the main target needs to be on prevention slightly than cure. Being proactive and fascinating on matters on workplace safety and health, should take pride of place alongside the problem of productivity.

Dennis DePeiza is a labour & worker relations consultant, Regional Management Services Inc. Visit our Website: www.regionalmanagement services.com

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