Despite transitioning from different kinds of community quarantine since March this year, there is very little progress in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Department of Health (DOH) has recently reported that we now have more than a hundred thousand confirmed cases, encompassing Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.
Due to this, medical frontliners called for a time-out, urging the government to revert from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for at least two weeks, with lots of hospitals declaring full capacity when it comes to accommodating COVID-19 patients. The government then declared on the evening of August 2, that Metro Manila, along with Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal, will again be under MECQ until August 18, should it not be extended.
Businesses, especially those classified as non-essential, have only been able to start recovering during the GCQ in Jun because of lesser restrictions. Public transportation has been gradually allowed to operate so most of the working force were able to report back to their offices.
For some companies, however, work-from-home arrangements are not an efficient substitute for the usual pre-pandemic on-site set-up, and operating under MECQ protocols again might cost them another series of minor and major losses.
The Incapability and Hesitation of Employees to Report to the Office
While workers employed under essential businesses are allowed to travel within the metro, not everyone will be able to as public transportation is prohibited for the entire MECQ. This means that while your office’s doors may remain open, the employees that will physically report to work would be fewer than what you’ve had during the GCQ because not everyone owns a private vehicle, unless you’re going to provide shuttle services.
Some of your employees will not be willing to come to your office even if they own a car, either. The hesitation will likely come from the hassle on checkpoints—although they are not required to have travel passes, authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are reportedly being scrutinized for an unnecessarily long process. Another, of course, is the fear of being infected with COVID-19. With the reported cases now breaching more than a hundred thousand, transmission can literally happen everywhere, even at the workplace
Revisiting COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures: Going as Touchless as Possible
The August MECQ is not entirely a bad thing. It is undeniably crippling for the economy but with everyone promoting a “safety first policy”, businesses should try to make the most out of it.
One of the most important things that you should do, as an organization, is to revisit your Health and Safety Measures to reassure your employees that your workplace is a safe place and encourage them to physically be present once cities return to GCQ. Employers should be even more vigilant than they were before: Is requiring facemasks and checking the body temperature of employees before entering the office premises really enough?
A great safety measure that is often overlooked by a lot of establishments is going as contactless or touchless as possible. This means that frequently touched objects such as door handles and elevator buttons should be handled by one staff only for each period of time and sanitized often. The use of fingerprint biometric devices, convenient and efficient as it was, should be highly discouraged as well for sanitary purposes.
Does this mean that you have to go manual in tracking attendance?
Not really. Investing in alternative technologies should also be a priority to avoid inconveniences at the office and to maximize efficiency in these rapidly changing working arrangements. Salarium, a timekeeping, payroll, and payments solutions provider will soon offer FacePass: a Touchless Time and Attendance Solution.
FacePass pairs S.A.F.E. Tech (Secured Attendance & Face-Enabled Technology), an advanced touchless facial recognition device, with Salarium’s complete and cloud-based time and attendance system to meet every business’ timekeeping needs.
S.A.F.E. Tech detects facemasks, scans body temperature, and records cock-ins or clock-outs—all at the same time. It can accurately recognize an employee in seconds even with their masks and face shields, and alarms when someone exceeds the normal body temperature.
Salarium’s timekeeping system enables HR staff to create, track, and manage shifts and schedules, manage overtimes, undertimes, and leaves, and complete attendance reports instantly. It also includes an Employee Self Service (ESS), which allows employees to access their records: time and attendance, shift schedules, leaves, and overtimes and undertimes via any device, so they can view it anytime and anywhere.
Welcome your employees into a safer office!
For more information, visit: https://www.salarium.com/facepass/
- MECQ now in effect in Metro Manila and four provinces until August 18, CNN Philippines
- Bigger GDP drop in 2020 seen as NCR reverted to MECQ, Philippine Daily Inquirer
- Businesses allowed to operate in MECQ areas from August 4 to 18, 2020, GMA News
- Workers in essential businesses allowed to travel under MECQ
- DTI and DOLE INTERIM GUIDELINES ON WORKPLACE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF COVID-19, DOH PH