Covid-19 changed the world. It changed how people relate and transact. People are now being forced to wear masks, wash their hands or sanitize, and maintain social distancing. The world will never be the same again.
The Covid-19 pandemic got so many businesses in Kenya and around the world unaware. None had prepared for such a year full of turmoil. Most of them, therefore, ended up reacting towards the virus. It is an event that was never anticipated.
At the peak of Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) told the world that the virus was here to stay. That it was the new normal that people had to learn to live with it. With that, individuals and organizations had to adjust their operations.
For those businesses that were already struggling even before the pandemic, the arrival of the virus drove the last nail into their operational coffin. Some either shut down temporarily, permanently or had to let go of the part of their employees.
Kenyan companies and organizations were facing a tough economic situation. The pandemic threatened to bring the majority of them to their knees. Sitting around and mourning about it was never going to help.
Organizations and businesses in Kenya have been striving to adapt to the new world, including cutting down on costs by letting unproductive employees go, reducing office space by letting their employees work from their homes among other initiatives.
Companies had to adjust and facilitate their employees to work remotely and still deliver the same desired results. This included ensuring that their employees had internet access, alternative working space for those who could not work from home, and measures to ensure social distancing for those that allowed their employees to come to work.
Those companies that provided health insurance to their employees had to reconsider what to cover and not what to cover. The majority chose not to cover Covid-19 for employees who contracted the same. This implied the employees had to be cautious in their daily activities and not to put themselves at the risk of contracting the virus.
From a policy point of view, we are seeing changes in various organizations, especially in matters to do with insurance. For instance, what happens when you get into an accident and you are working from home? Who bears that cost considering that your home is now your office?
Some companies had to put in place massive salary cuts for them to remain afloat. Business operations had been hurt and the only way to survive was either to fire a section of employees or cut salaries. Most chose salary cuts to assure their employees of hope and a better future.
As the economy slowly reopens, most businesses have started operations and allowing employees back to work. But a lot has changed. Companies and organizations now have to ensure that their offices have sanitizers, thermogun for checking employees’ temperature, and some even masks.
Employees are expected to maintain social distance, wear masks and always obverse the Covid-19 protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health. At the same time, employees who are 56 years of age and above are being encouraged to work remotely.