On the occasion of ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work', we encourage businesses to anticipate, prepare and respond adequately to ensure the safety of all parties
Today marks the ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ and brands and agencies across sectors are pulling out all stops to offer a well-guarded environment to their stakeholders, more so because of the pandemic we are grappling with. Safety has acquired a new meaning ever since COVID-19 began and changed the way we work, live, and socialize. Evidently, this year has been crucial for leadership & management teams to put themselves in the shoes of others, especially when most of the employees are working remotely.
First practiced in 2003 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), April 28 recognizes and focusses on the importance and prevention of accidents and diseases at workplaces, primarily because an individual spends a significant time of his day at work. With the world confronting an unprecedented crisis of all times, impacting economies, health & livelihood at the same time, safety measures for employees and other stakeholders are now at the forefront of workplace policies.
“Protecting our people and caring for their overall wellness is one of our top priorities. Hence, we initiated a lockdown a week before the first national lockdown was announced and started working from home after equipping everyone with required infrastructure. We also partnered with MindPeers to provide everyone an outlet of expression and started the much-needed mental health conversation. Also, with no salary cuts, no job losses throughout the year, we strengthened mental wellbeing and ensured financial wellness at the same time,” says Mahesh Nazare, Director HR & L&D, WATConsult.
At Usha International too, the health and wellbeing of employees took precedence above all else. “Once we realized the magnitude of the outbreak, remote-working was made mandatory. We took baby steps when unlock happened – only those whose physical presence was critical for business were allowed in, with all necessary precautions and sanitization measures in place.
With the second wave, we have urged all our employees to stay home and practice the mandated safety norms. We continue to provide the required logistical and technical support, allow flexi-hours or additional time off and also reimburse vaccinated employees for the cost of their shot, and have initiated various employee-engagement programs to keep teams motivated,” shares Dinesh Chhabra, CEO, Usha International.
Out of an abundance of caution, to ensure overall protection of each team member, PR Pundit also maintained ‘Work from Home’ from March 2020, which continues to date. “After the initial rigorous lockdown, our office premises open two days in a week for any essential client meetings, team huddles, product seeding, tech issues, etc. to service to our clients seamlessly.
We have repeatedly circulated the safety protocols to follow while visiting the office. We have reduced the seating capacity and strictly control access to office to adhere to the national regulations on safety. It has also meant extended quarantine for those who fall ill. Many have found the confinement an ordeal. We have been monitoring the well-being of our teams and have offered group counselling sessions to detect signs of fragility," asserts Archana Jain, Managing Director & CEO, PR Pundit.
This pandemic has sure affected all age groups, where individuals have shown signs of vulnerability towards mental and physical illnesses. Hence, at Nimida Group, the importance of defining a healthier, more wellness-centric future has become more paramount. “We have tied up with mental health institutes to provide employees the option of seeking therapy in what is an overwhelming time. We moved our training sessions online in April last year. Taking on-ground training to a virtual space was bound to be a challenge but we ensured this transition was handled as seamlessly as possible,” mentions Gaurav Manchanda, Founder, Nimida Group.
Nazare also gives a sense of how the agency handled its client roster, that began with an in-depth assessment of the situation and carefully re-arranging offerings with an objective of helping them navigate through this new reality. “We shifted our focus according to the changes in the brands’ needs and delivered desired business outcomes through creative solutions. We offered services like e-commerce, data analytics, technology led solutions to further tap and track the changing consumer behavior.
We further recognized the opportunities that Covid19 opened with the digital penetration in the tier II & III cities. To tap this opportunity, we launched Bharat by WATConsult – a one-stop solution for all multilingual digital marketing needs,” he adds.
It is time for businesses to anticipate, prepare and respond adequately to ensure the safety of all parties when dealing with the recurring waves of the pandemic that will likely persist for a while yet. Experts suggest them to design policies that focus holistically on the entire ecosystem and also align well with the brand ethos.
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