The impact of the pandemic on the workplace has varied amongst different workplaces – while some jobs allow for teleworking, others can only afford alternate shifts, whilst other jobs do not have the facility to be done from home and thus workers still go to the workplace on a daily basis.
Irrespective of the type of work setting put in place during the pandemic, all settings have brought about added tension for employers and employees alike. I would say that the key challenge for employers is reaching a balance between keeping the place safe and ensuring that productivity does not dip.
Security is the ultimate aim of all employers, and this can only be achieved through maintaining this said balance. Employees are demotivated when they feel that they lack job security and/or health security, and employers are under a constant pressure to ensure that the two are not mutually exclusive.
It might not be easy to balance both, especially when employees need to be physically present at the workplace to carry out their job. Now more than ever, a sense of community amongst workers is key to achieving a safe workplace. Apart from the necessary protocols and measures to keep the workplace safe, awareness of the risks that can be posed if one does not change their lifestyle is a prerequisite.
Employees who share a sense of community and solidarity recognise that their actions outside of the workplace have a direct impact on the level of anxiety of their colleagues, and thus such employees choose to be more precautious outside of work to maintain a safe workplace for themselves, their colleagues and all their families. When fear is minimised, workers are more focused and thus more productive.
Additionally, a certain level of normality experienced at the workplace, which often allows for the only source of social interaction outside of the family, also motivates workers and impacts productivity.
Therefore, the key challenge for all employers and their employees during the pandemic is to strike a balance between the following three aspects:
Egoism is the antithesis of this balance, and quite frankly, it has led to a partial lockdown. Egoism has therefore jeopardised the efforts of the rest of us who have been consistently seeking to achieve this balance for the past year.
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