Working Safely During the Global Pandemic
Workplace safety during a pandemic is double-edged: It has a physical and a psychosocial edge to it. You could catch COVID while at work, or you could be safe from the virus but vulnerable to the mental health issues that come with lockdowns and social distancing. You might also need to pay attention to any anomalies or situations that can cause cyber-related security issues during the pandemic. For an in-depth understanding of this topic, below are 4 pointers to working safely during the global pandemic.
Work from home
Working from home will cut your COVID-19 exposure risk by more than half. You just need to strictly observe all WHO’s COVID-19 prevention protocols in your home office and you will be fine. But then, working alone at home can exacerbate depression and anxiety problems in a troubled mind. Be sure to keep in touch with family and friends through social media and phone calls just to keep your mind calm and sane. Regular indoor exercises can also boost your mental health.
Physical and mental health aside, working away from the IT infrastructure of a traditional office puts your sensitive data at the risk of data theft. Phishing and other cybercrimes are actually on the rise now that most people are working from home. Be safe from cybercriminals by:
- Installing strong, authentic antivirus software on your computer and ensuring that your OS version isn’t outdated.
- Locking down your online privacy using a VPN. A good VPN will encrypt your data and block data spies from accessing your web traffic.
- Encrypting your network by using strong and hard-to-guess Wi-Fi passwords.
On top of protecting your network and computer, you can keep the files you share with colleagues via email safer by first converting them to zip files. Encrypt them so that even if someone steals them, they will not be able to read what’s locked up inside. Zip files are also great because multiple files can be bundled up and compressed into a single file, making it effortless to share and archive large files.
Turn your car into a mobile office
This is in case you don’t have a home office or you are uncomfortable working around your family/roommates. Converting your car into an office will require you to:
- Install a police-spec laptop desk in your car. You can also have a small customized “classroom desk” in case you don’t have enough space for your hard files, pens, and other devices.
- Acquire a power inverter. You will need it to run your electronics off the car battery.
- Acquire a small mobile printer such as an HP OfficeJet 100. Such a printer fits in the boot, can run on car battery power, and can be connected to your laptop via Bluetooth.
- Install a safe if you have sensitive documents or expensive gadgets that could attract thieves.
- Get your windows tinted and install an alarm system if you haven’t.
Reshaping the workplace
This is for people who cannot work remotely either because they fear for their mental health when alone or their job description necessitates their physical presence at the office. Workplace managers must ensure that workers are reasonably spaced out and that working spaces are thoroughly sanitised and cleaned. Other COVID-19 prevention measures at the workplace include:
- Isolation booths for extra cleanliness and safety. Workers can see each other and even consult across the office, but they cannot infect one another. The booths also put individual workers in charge of their personal safety; they choose how often they disinfect their space as opposed to waiting for the janitor to do it for everybody.
- Testing and screening stations in the car park or in reception to ensure that workers with visible signs of sickness don’t enter the office.
- Cleaning stations equipped with hand sanitisers and other disinfectant products.
- Addition of Plexiglass barriers around workers’ desks to act as sneeze guards.
- Always wear your mask at work – don’t let your guard down
If you work in the service industry, embracing digital payments will lower your chances of catching COVID through virus-carrying money. Card companies, banks, and fintech have already made cashless payments viable for businesses of all sizes and shapes. It is up to you to roll out non-touch payment mechanisms at your shop. Contactless operations also include replacing customer-care counters with digital customer care options. Instead of customers checking into your hotel via the check-in counter, for example, make it possible for them to check in from their phones through a password auto-generated upon their arrival. Another contactless idea is to use augmented reality for customers to browse through your store and make purchases without having to step into the store.
Staying safe from COVID-19 will depend on the choices you make when working. Earning a living shouldn’t be an excuse for you to expose yourself to COVID-19. Don’t drop your guard until things return to normalcy. It can be done!
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