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How should regional companies protect their workforce amid Covid-19 recovery

How should regional companies protect their workforce amid Covid-19 recovery

Amid evolving challenges, businesses needs a clear and incisive guide on best practices to support and protect their workforce

Over the past few months, the Covid-19 global pandemic has left the world in an unpredictable situation, and the impact is calling for employers to implement precautionary measures to protect their most valuable assets, their employees.

As governments and businesses start to cautiously and gradually lift the restrictions to ease the return to the “new normal”, employee health and safety remains a top priority as the pandemic reshapes our working environment.

For the manufacturing and supply chain industries, the situation becomes slightly more complex due to the nature of their operational environment. Although many businesses are able to fully operate remotely for a prolonged period of time, a considerable percentage of the workforce in essential industries, such as manufacturing and logistics, have to work on site, which calls for high levels of proactivity to mitigate the evolving risks.

For HR business partners and leaders in the manufacturing and logistics industries, the nature of operations entails more physical interaction of “on the ground force’ making it all the more critical than ever before to engage the workforce.

In such uncertain times, what your business needs is a clear and incisive guide on the best practices to support and protect your workforce in the face of the evolving risks.

Whether your employees are working remotely or on-site, maintaining a dedicated and engaged workforce is critical to the success of any business.

Employee communication
As the situation changes daily, employers should be kept up-to-date with the latest developments.

Communicate to your employees what is being done to protect them and to maintain business continuity. Employee communications can be used to:

· Highlight current support mechanisms.
· Provide tips and assistance to facilitate remote working.
· Remind employees of hygiene practices to maintain health
· Share information on current business continuity and pandemic recovery plans.

Your risk advisor should be able to support you in providing your employees with the right guidance and information.

Support mechanisms
Employers can promote existing support mechanisms to employees and their families. For example, unnecessary exposure to infection at hospitals and care centres can be avoided through virtual care.

Telemedicine or digital health are good options for low-level, non-epidemic issues.

Other alternatives include health education about proper measures as maintaining social distancing and wearing PPE, to ensure the safety to all colleagues, evaluation of on-site or near-site clinics, as well as mental health support through counselling, employee assistance programmes and other interventions.

Here are some considerations you can discuss with your insurance and risk management advisor to innovate in supporting your workforce:

· Do your current health and benefit providers (including insurers) have appropriate messaging about Covid-19?
· Have your employee health support resources (in employee assistance programmes) been suitably trained?
· Are they well prepared to respond to employee questions on Covid-19? Review your own policies. Do you have the appropriate level of coverage?

Preparing for recovery and rebound plans
Business reorganisation and reinvention will be a high priority to ensure survival as Covid-19 takes its toll on businesses across the world.

It is no secret that we will experience a revolutionary reshaping of our ways of working and operational environment post this pandemic. In vital industries such as manufacturing and logistics, the opportunities for innovation and growth as the world recovers from the impact of Covid-19 will be limitless.

It is more important than ever to proactively and strategically protect your business, build resilience and prepare for future growth opportunities.

Your first step towards recovery and growth is prioritising your human capital being your greatest asset to maintain a strong workforce.

A risk and insurance advisor who understands your business and your operational environment can help you put in place the best practices to protect your people and business during these unprecedented times.

Alaaddin Mukhalalaty is the sales and corporate leader at Marsh MENA

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