How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed workplace safety forever

The globe is a place of never-ending change. People are constantly moving. Technology is always developing. New inventions are always coming about. But how often do we come to face with a global pandemic?

COVID-19 comes into play

As we know it, the COVID-19 pandemic took and continues to take a severe toll on the world and everything it has to offer. Let’s look into the business sector specifically to see how the pandemic has shifted work for billions of employees around the globe.

How has the workplace changed over the course of the pandemic?

During the peak of the transformation to this new reality, COVID-19 transmission and lethality rates were displaying very worrisome numbers. Symptoms of the virus, for some, are similar to the common cold or flu, which causes individuals to struggle when figuring out why they weren’t feeling well. They could either be coming down with a common cold or battling the COVID-19 virus.

In some cases, people could be carrying the virus and feel completely fine, leaving them to spread the COVID-19 virus without even knowing it. This uncertainty implemented a great level of anxiety and fear into people and sent many into a panic.

Fortunately, as medical professionals gained more insight on the virus, they began to develop new testing strategies and came up with more symptoms tied to the virus.

Between all the uncertainties and unpredictable possibilities, it was better off people didn’t take any chances risking the spread of such a dangerous illness. With this, people found themselves at such a vulnerable point – mentally and physically.

Safety, health and comfort are key

Going to work had become a fear. Leaving the house, in general, had become a fear. Because of this, the workplace grew more sensitive in terms of implementing extensive safety protocols. Regardless by government demands or not, employers have taken a big step in making sure their employees are staying safe from the severity of the COVID-19 virus.

Many, if not all, companies expanded out of their comfort zone and resorted to remote work. Others implemented policies for social distancing and PPE in their workplaces.

As more and more companies turned to remote work and protocols in the office, employees felt safer and more comfortable working during the trying time. That’s not to say things were at their greatest. Many employees then began to struggle with the isolation they faced in their homes and the trauma from hearing nothing but negative news among other things. Because of all the suffering, employers, in most instances, deemed it necessary to offer help.

Telecounseling for remote workers, therapy, mental health programs and many other offerings were rapidly implemented. Many employers even shifted their benefits packages to more strongly consider possible contraction of the illness and mental suffering during the crazy time.

It is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged stronger health and safety approaches in the workplace, putting employee health at the top of the list.

The workplace will never be the same

Most companies, after implementing new health programs and such, won’t be returning to the state they were at prior to the pandemic. This is because the severity of this time period underscored the reality that cataclysmic events, like a global pandemic, are possible.

COVID-19 won’t be the last time something catastrophic occurs. Unfortunately, the world will always be prone to natural disasters, pandemics and so many other types of shock. If anything, COVID-19 has created a stepping stone for the road businesses should be taking in terms of health and safety approaches.

When an individual is at their healthiest point, both mentally and physically, they will work so much more efficiently. Employers want this and they will continue to do what it takes to ensure they are aiding their employees in getting to this point. One’s health is the most important of all and the COVID-19 pandemic really set the bar high for this.

 

 

Brianne Hailey Killeen was previously a senior at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, New Jersey, taking up a journalism internship with the Meadowlands Chamber and Meadowlands Media. There, she would use her passion in journalism and writing to articulate helpful, yet significant pieces for the MC's publications. Brianne was hired and kept on board for the Meadowlands Chamber as a Media and Editorial Production Coordinator. While maintaining this position, she will be studying Communications and Media Studies at Montclair State University. Brianne can be contacted at bkilleen@meadowlands.org.