Many offices have resumed work but what has been a sore topic is the stigma around the virus. As much as the symptoms of the virus are similar to a flu, people with sinus and usual winter health issues get the ‘glare’ when they cough or sneeze in the office.
We obviously can’t send every person home with a slight sneeze or cough but what we can do at the office is encourage those who have the flu symptoms to work from home. This not just prevents them from being glared at the office but also safeguards others from being exposed to people while sick.
But this needs to be communicated. Instead of just assuming people are going to realise this send an email highlighting the need to protect your employees. Also ensure that this is communicated not in a manner to put them under the spotlight but to rather promote health and safety in the workplace.
People might be sceptical about associating with someone in the workplace who has previously tested positive. We have to realise that people are being tested, treated and recovering from the virus. It seems as though the stigma around the virus is growing.
As an owner of an organisation, be sure to implement strict rules about social distancing. Ensure that employees have access to sanitisers and that sanitising of the office is done each afternoon when the employees leave at the end of the day.
These are a few things that we should be already doing if we have staff working from the office. We should ensure that staff travelling by public transport are not victimised in the workplace. We must understand the virus does not target you based on where you stay and how you travel to work.
So do not put on a mask when you see a colleague who uses public transport but take it off when talking to someone who has their own vehicle. As an employee of any company take precautions such as ensuring you are sanitizing and wearing your mask whenever you are out of your home.
The only way to safeguard you and your family. But while doing so remember the virus does not select a specific race group, gender or culture. Anyone can get it so always keep your guard up.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISMs that Divide us.