Covid-19 Cautious: How Employees Without the ‘Work From Home’ Option Can Stay Safe

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Covid-19 Cautious: How Employees Without the ‘Work From Home’ Option Can Stay Safe

With the onslaught of the Novel Coronavirus or Covid-19 at a major high, companies all over the world are exercising their work-from-home policies to prevent the virus from spreading at offices and other public places. While this move is the step in the right direction, not all employees can work from home.

Individuals in the dining, (food and package) delivery, health, retail, customer support and similar industries — which requires them to be physically present — cannot simply use the internet, access tools and get the job done. In India, the number of such workers runs in the millions. They can, of course, sit at home but that’d mean doing nothing and losing out on money.

With neither work from home and missing out on pay as viable options, they report for duty. But how can you keep working without running the risk of catching the coronavirus and spreading it to others?

Here are 3 health and safety tips for employees who cannot work remotely.

Maintain Social Distancing

You should be concerned if you’re working in close quarters with unwell coworkers in tight workspaces. The coronavirus is highly contagious so distancing yourself should be the norm.

If you feel that your peer is showing symptoms, avoid shaking hands and being in close proximity. Find other alternatives such as a fist or elbow bump, or a regular ‘’Hello’’, ‘’Hi’’, or ‘’Good morning, afternoon, evening, night’’ greetings should also suffice.

Do keep in mind that you should look out for your fellow coworker. Tell the person to take time off until they feel better. But if they don’t, it’s perfectly fine to inform authorities. It may seem rude but in the current predicament, they will understand (as they’re highly trained to handle such situations) and take necessary actions without causing a stir.

Report Lack of Hygiene

The rapid spread of coronavirus is a result of individuals not maintaining hygiene etiquettes. As an employee, you should bring to the notice of the employers if soaps and sanitizers aren’t being provided and pantries, restrooms and other materials or objects —  that are frequented or used by employees repeatedly — aren’t regularly disinfected.

If the employers are taking all the necessary precautions to limit the coronavirus outbreak, the employees must follow suit. Wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing.

Employees in industries like F&B should wear caps and gloves while catering to customers. Similarly, delivery executives should consider using masks. If you feel that your coworker isn’t complying, report it to the HR in person, not via emails. You mustn’t also spread the word amongst your other peers if you notice that a particular individual lacks hygiene and is risking the health and safety of others at work — this will only cause embarrassment to them.

Request your HRs to look into the matter immediately and to keep your tip anonymous.

Report your concern immediately

The last thing anyone wants at such times is for an infection to spread at work and also put others health and safety at risk. As such, it is your responsibility to self-isolate yourself if you’re returning from a high-risk area, or feel that you’ve been exposed to Covid-19, or showing symptoms of the virus.

Inform your HR about it immediately over a call/email, self-quarantine yourself or head over to the closest health facility immediately. Do keep in mind that you must maintain hygiene (by wearing a mask and washing hands), and avoid public transport or places.

If you have no idea what to do next, do not panic. Talk to your HR who will direct you on what to do next. Find out from them if there are contingencies in place to help you with your treatment, and avoid loss of pay when you’re decommissioned.

Whether you’re working or not, it’s your responsibility as a human to do whatever in your power to keep yourself safe. Follow official directives released by the government only and do not believe rumours circulating on the internet.

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