The government of Maldives is preparing to re-open borders in July, and kick-start tourism and other industry. Borders re-open when the government allows it but economies re-open only when the citizens feel safe enough to resume economic activities.
Hence, it is very essential for the workforce and customers to feel safe enough to resume their usual activities for a proper re-opening of the economy. Employers in Maldives need to address the fear in employees to return to work before the re-opening of borders.
Peter Newell, a retired Army Colonel and the owner of a problem-solving company and innovation shop outlined three key factors that employers need to consider while handling the issue of employees’ fear to return to work.
Listen to the Employees
Different employees will have different fears: Some are worried about the possibility of their aged parents contacting the virus through them while some are worried about minding their children when they return to work as daycare centers are closed. There is no uniform solution to eliminate the fear employees might have.
Hence, employers can encourage employees to be honest about their fears. Listen to them, and have clear communication about the measures the company is taking to minimize the risks for the staff.
Set A Plan for Returning to Office
It is very important for employers to check the consequences of returning back to work, and set a plan for re-opening of offices accordingly. Some employees may be residing in Vilimale’ or Hulhumale’. With the precautionary measures and the publics’ fear of contracting the virus in confined spaces such as buses, those employees might be less willing to return to work.
Hence, companies can allow those employees to continue working from home.
Directly Addressing the Stress Faced by Employees
Working from home, in confined and small spaces with their children might have been very stressful to several employees. It is very essential for employers to ensure that employees are returning to work refreshed.
Employers can directly talk about employees about the issues and stresses they faced while working with the home, and can encourage them to take a small break to refresh their minds before returning back to the office.
However, all the fears noted by Peter Newell might not be applicable to Maldivian employees. The restriction policies are different in Maldives compared to other countries, as Maldives is an island nation.
Tourism industry expert, Director of Human Resources, Baglioni, Hussain Hameed stated that restrictions and safe passage procedures are rationalized and quite effective in Maldives.
“We have the advantage over other countries in terms of Isolated Islands (resorts) So right now, people are looking forward to the reopening of their workplaces to resume work and be able to start earning on a regular basis,” Hussain Hameed said.
The key point in Newell’s three factors is listening and understanding the fears of employees and implementing necessary actions to support the employees. All the fears cannot be eliminated, however showing support and addressing the necessary issues with clear communication will encourage employees to return to offices.