May 19, 2020

Getting back to work after COVID-19

May 19, 2020

Getting back to work after COVID-19

As countries around the world prepare to ease lockdown restrictions and facilitate a return to work, many questions are weighing on our minds. When will life regain some semblance of normalcy? What will work in the post-COVID-19 world look like?

The situation is unprecedented and there is no clear end in sight. However, one thing is certain – as a society, we must learn to live with COVID-19 till a vaccine or medicine is available. And self-precaution is the best way. The return to work will be gradual and office or factory life will be markedly different. Undoubtedly, the use of protective gear, strict adherence to social distancing norms and other measures will be indispensable.

Here are a few guidelines to help get back to work and embrace a new, healthy future in the days to come:

1. Practise caution at all times

Wearing masks and other personal protective equipment can reduce your chances of being infected with COVID-19 or unknowingly spreading the virus to those around you. Other precautions include:

No-contact greetings:
Whether you see your colleagues after ages or meet a client for an important business deal, a no-contact greeting, like a wave or a nod is a safer choice over a handshake. A ‘namaste’ is also a nice way to greet and say hello.

Regular handwashing:
In office spaces and other common areas, there could be several frequently touched surfaces. It is therefore important to wash your hands with soap regularly or use an alcohol-based sanitiser at frequent intervals.

Workplace etiquette:
Following good respiratory hygiene, by covering the mouth when you sneeze or cough and immediately washing hands goes a long way in preventing the spread of germs. In frequented areas like lifts, conference rooms, canteens or company buses, take extra precaution to protect yourself and everyone else.

2. Maintain social distancing

Maintaining at least 1-3 meter distance with others protects you from possible microbes if an infected person coughs or sneezes close by. In day-to-day activities, like shopping for essentials, taking public transport or working in offices and factories, make it a point to practice social distancing norms as per your government directives. It is also important to avoid crowded areas and opt for safer modes of transport that allow physical distancing.

3. Self-isolate if you are unwell

If you are experiencing even mild discomfort, like a cold, cough or flu-like symptoms, stay at home and be in isolation, while keeping your coworkers in the loop. Ignoring the symptoms and continuing to work could not only deteriorate your health but also put your family members and colleagues at risk.

You can also use self-help apps provided by governments and healthcare providers to assess your symptoms remotely or seek medical attention if required.

bullet For instance, the Singapore government’s TraceTogether app aims to combat the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing.

bullet In India, the Aarogya Setu app by the Government of India supports citizens with real-time information and assistance.

bullet If you are in the United Kingdom, NHS COVID-19 app helps everyone stay safe and healthy.

For most of us, adapting to new ways of working will require a gradual mindset shift. Practising the guidelines above can make your transition back to the workplace smooth, safe and successful.

At AM International and all our group companies, the health, safety and well-being of our workforce is our top priority. Thus, we are focusing our efforts on returning to the workplace – safely and sustainably

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At AM Foundation, we believe in impact investing to drive positive change.

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