In case you need to be gently reminded, the COVID-19 virus is both contagious and deadly. Simply put, this virus pandemic has to be taken very seriously. Globally, millions have died, and, countless millions more are either being positively diagnosed, or hospitalized, or both. Therefore, personal safety is vastly important. Additionally, as a business owner, the safety of your employees and your work-space (even where that workspace is your private residence), must be paramount, as you seek to minimize everyone’s risk of contracting COVID-19.
I am of the view that one of the key steps you should adapt in the fight against COVID-19, is to conduct a measured spatial assessment of your business environment. This primary evaluation is meant for you, as an entrepreneur, to better understand the risks that everyone in that space can encounter, regardless of the nature of the business.
Pertinent questions that you can mentally ask include, (i) How many persons frequent that space with me? (ii) How often do each of us frequent that space; (iii) Does we need to frequent that space often; and (iv) What simple changes can be made within that space, while still maintaining acceptable levels of production (and/or interaction)?
Then, another weapon in your arsenal against COVID-19, is to have an established set of boundaries regarding the operations of that space. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that you should be a ruthless dictator. Instead, seek to frequently converse with those in that shared space, of the need to protect everyone’s health diligently and vigilantly, as a shared activity. For example, have a tangible conversation with them to establish how the space will be manoeuvred. You can even have a ‘test run’ of the collective suggestions to see what can work, what might need a bit of tweaking, and even, what definitely wouldn’t work.
Additionally, I believe that you should seek to be both sympathetic and empathetic to the individual concerns of all persons in that space. Let’s face it, in this fluid, volatile times, almost everyone is either frustrated, depressed, anxious, angry, resigned, stressed or fatigued about a range of issues ranging from concerns about contracting COVID-19 to the efficacy of the many approved vaccinations, to financial stability and prolonged isolation, to mental health. Therefore, carefully listen to their concerns, and, allow movement ,and operations to continue where they can, in a safe, respectful and responsible manner.
For example, if someone feels uneasy being around others, even though they and everyone is wearing their masks the right way, if you can, allow then to work from home (or, in another plausible part of that space). Similarly, if they are feeling overwhelmed, acknowledge their feelings. Have a meaningful discussion with them, in order to come to a mutually-favourable proposal that balances concerns with (production) continuity.
Arguably, the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away any time soon. Therefore, we all need to be cognizant of our workplace health and personal safety. We have to strike a balance between life and livelihood.
Keywords: LinkedIn Caribbean, assessment, boundaries, empathy, livelihood