The advent of Covid19 has brought the world economy to its knees as countries have had to stop or seriously restrict economic activity in order to inhibit the spread of the disease. Almost every country had been impacted with even those not experiencing high levels of Covid19 being impacted by the global slowdown and restrictions on trade and the movement of people.
Many countries are contemplating unparalleled amounts of money spent during the crisis, money they did not have and which they will need to replenish through taxes and a strengthened economy. But too many, whilst there are opportunities, there are also many risks.
These are the major areas where disruption has occurred, and which therefore provides, opportunities for both growth and risk:
In this first part, we will focus on:
Not working from office anymore. What are your responsibilities as an employer? People during the pandemic have been known to suffer more mental health problems, caused by the isolation of lockdown and simply the duration of the period of never-ending bad news. Whilst the pandemic, and the reactive measures to the pandemic, is not something the employer can control, nevertheless it is something that has to be considered when assigning work.
Everyone knows that is difficult to work from home as on top of the work that has be done it adds up countless meetings on zoom (zoom with the team, zoom with the clients, etc). Because of this there is a difficulty here in what is genuine concern and keeping in touch compared to harassment and checking up on people. In the era of self-checks for being infested and self-isolation if infected, who is to say if the absence from either the actual or virtual workplace is a genuine one? Too heavy a hand here from the employer could lead to all types of allegations, triggering court action and substantial costs.
This holds a number of risks. Not only do you as the employer have to ensure that the working premises are Covid19 proof, but you are also making the decision that your employee should travel in to work. Whilst you may have Covid 19 secure premises, does the fact that you are insisting on your employee coming to work make you responsible if Covid19 is caught whilst travelling on a tram or a bus? Many employees may argue that this is putting them in danger and that the employer cannot insist on them being in the factory or office. What do you do if an employee objects to working in the same area as someone who is unvaccinated? Can you actually ask employees if they are vaccinated or this a medical confidentiality issue?
There are considerable costs involved in making a return to the office/factory in a secure Covid19 manner. Are you able to insist upon staff wearing masks, for example? Notices have to be erected, ventilation has to be improved providing fresh air flow around the area, temperature controls need to be established on entrances and had sanitiser made available.