Due to the rise of COVID-19 pandemic, companies should implement emergency measures for the purpose of confronting the current situation. A circular issued by the Ministry of Labour provides for specific measures for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 in view of the employer’s obligation to ensure health and safety at the workplace.
The first and most important step would be to prepare a thorough risk management plan in order for the company to be alert once a suspected case occurs. According to the circular, in case of a coronavirus incident involving an employee in the work environment, the infected employee is immediately quarantined and his/her workplace is disinfected thoroughly. Also the Greek Health Organization should be informed immediately of the incident.
The preventive measures listed in the circular are divided into 4 categories: a) organisational measures, b) personal hygiene measures, c) environmental measures and d) measures for monitoring employees’ health. Some of these measures may involve the implementation of health and safety measures in the workplace, the strengthening of companies digital infrastructure, as well as the cancellation of all their professional activities (travel, conferences, meetings), as an attempt to reduce the expansion of the virus. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for companies to close their businesses by implementing the “stay home” policy, while those who cannot close, due to the nature of the work, are operating with security personnel. These coping practices include having smart policies around remote work, anticipating and mitigating both operational obstacles and social impacts of the current health emergency.
In fact according to a recent survey conducted by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce the vast majority of 85% of Greek companies have implemented homework or related policies to ensure the company’ s operations continue. However, there are companies whose nature of the product or service they produce does not allow them to employ workers from home, and thus require their physical presence. As for companies they implement homework employment policies, they have observed with 37% that the staff is just as productive, while 33% that they are less productive, while 21% of them do not have an opinion on the issue, and only 7% believe that its staff is more productive.
For the companies that are unable to shut down one of the immediate measures to be taken is the strict implementation of workplace health measures, either by providing medical equipment (masks, gloves, antiseptics) and the daily heat measurement of employees, or by intensive disinfection of workplaces. In addition, a very important measure for companies was the reform of their strategy for the coming months. A review of their budget, a cut in spending, a reduction in production costs, a suspension of payments where possible, and a reassessment of projected revenues were the main points of this restructuring. At a later stage, companies seem to be rethinking their strategy and budget, cutting their spending and re-evaluating their projected revenues.