The World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic. People are getting infected, are getting sick, and are dying. It’s an alarming situation, and everyone must take the necessary precautions regarding this.
Luzon is now under enhanced community quarantine resulting in a total lockdown. People are expected to be under strict home quarantine as work should be suspended, leaving only essential and skeleton forces in the field.
The world is at risk, and the virus continues to be a rapidly evolving issue. The health care practitioners and scientists are doing their best to find ways to battle COVID-19, and it’s our duty as citizens to do what we can do: prevent the spread.
Social distancing is a priority, and it should be pretty clear for everyone. But unfortunately, there are still some who will resist, and it’ll be especially tricky if it’s your boss.
Should I prioritize my work over health?
Your work numbers are important, but there should be no other priority over your health and safety. If you have a stable internet connection and you’re able to fulfill your needs as an employee, then it’s best to stay at home. Given that the country is already under enhanced community quarantine, we have to do our part in complying. Our frontliners in the medical field are doing their jobs, so we should do ours by staying home.
Your boss should realize that it’s not just for your safety but also for the protection of everyone. The lockdown has implemented restrictions on public transport, thus making it unsafe and unrealistic to expect physical attendance.
One can unknowingly be a carrier of the virus and can infect those around them. It’s important to note that not everyone is as blessed with a young individual’s immune system. Even if you could recover from the virus doesn’t mean others can take it as well as you. Transferring the sickness to someone older and weaker is a very likely reality.
So if your boss makes you report to work, but you’re confident that you can accomplish your tasks remotely, then put your foot down and insist that you stay home. One, it’s not safe, and two, they’re going against the precautionary measures of the government.
What about the non-regular employees?
Those who are contracted daily are also affected by this as they lose their source of income. It’s an absurd thought to report for work during this time, but it’s a harsh reality that some people are left with no choice. Transportation is a major concern, and the company should be able to provide these services if they insist on making their employees come to work.
Some companies might opt to terminate these people’s services as a means to brace the financial impact the virus will bring. They shouldn’t abruptly leave these workers helpless. They should preferably be provided sufficient compensation in this most unfortunate time.
There are so many elements to this, but as a concerned citizen, reporting violators will go a long way. You can do your part through this link.
Do I have to compromise my leaves?
This isn’t the time for your boss to play the stubborn, heartless role and implement a “No work, no pay” policy. If you can’t report to work in this challenging time, then your boss should have the empathy to understand.
If your company has halted its operations due to the crisis, they still have no right in meddling with your leave credits.
You deserve your vacation leaves, and you shouldn’t be put in the position to drain all of them because of your company’s lacking policies.
The Department of Labor and Employment has already issued a labor advisory on guidelines to ensure containment of COVID-19 transmission.
It states that flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting and working from home are highly encouraged. While there are limitations, such as those whose physical presence is essential to the job, the point still stands that DOLE is helping us to do our part in containing this disease.
There really is no excuse for being out of touch at this time of crisis. We have to act as if we are a carrier of the virus and flatten the curve.
What if my office doesn’t have work from home policies?
Now’s not the time to force physical attendance merely because of old traditions. If your boss is a boomer, then I highly encourage you to convince them that it’s a different generation now – plus, public safety is at risk.
If there’s no work from home or flexible working policy, then there should be now. The DOLE guidelines are there, and the committee designated to make the policies can base it on that structure. It’s pretty straightforward, and it considers the work output and employee safety at the same time. And, let’s face it, corporations have a lot of adjusting to do. The coronavirus isn’t going away in just a month or two. (READ: Why Filipinos need to stay at home until June [or even longer])
Sometimes convincing the older management team is the hardest part since they grew up in a different time, but stay strong, firm, and vigilant. You’re doing this for everyone, even beyond the lockdown period.
What about the BPO industry?
Business Process Outsourcing companies still continue their operations at this time. Management by now should have already established a skeleton force with considerate hours.
Also, given that public transportation is scarce, these companies should provide the necessary means if they are to require attendance. Shuttle services will be of great help in this time of struggle.
In addition to these, BPO companies should also supply the proper equipment – such as computers and headsets – to their staff so it may be feasible to work from home. It has been a week since the country went on lockdown and at this point there shouldn’t be any excuse to be ill-prepared.
What if my company doesn’t change?
Things now shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure to take action on the entire situation: wash your hands, don’t panic buy, and prove to uncooperative supervisors that their outdated methods need to be revised.
This is a bizarre situation we are all in, but you will see true leadership in how they act in this time of crisis. Always remember to stand up for yourself. It’s only best to think of everyone’s safety.
We already have DOLE’s guidelines suggesting the measures to take in the set-up of our workplace. We’re already supposed to be indoors for a month with our community quarantine.
If that’s not enough, then the increasing count of those infected should be enough to rattle management towards action.
And if that still doesn’t shake your boss, then maybe the best action for you to do is update your resume. Not everyone is privileged enough to jump ship from a company without a plan, so maybe start smaller, perhaps a change in department or division. Taking care of your people is the bare minimum, and if you’re in a working environment where that isn’t valued, then it’s best to discern if you want to be a part of that culture. – Rappler.com
Chino is a writer who is taking his masters in business administration. He entered the Human Resources field after graduating in 2015.
Read more Hustle stories:
- Adulting 101: Upskilling for a post-pandemic future
- Adulting 101: Practicing empathy in the midst of the coronavirus crisis
- Volunteer your skills during the lockdown through these initiatives
- Digital disinformation is as potent as a virus during a pandemic
- #HustleEveryday: Setting up your home office while under quarantine
- #HustleEveryday: What apps do offices need for an efficient work-from-home system?
- Keep calm and cope: How to stay mentally healthy during coronavirus crisis