COVID-19: Easing the lockdown and Workforce transition

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Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari gave updates on the COVID-19 induced lockdown order across some States in Nigeria. The highlight of the new measures centred around the gradual easing of the lockdown initially placed on Ogun, Lagos and Abuja as well as the re-opening of selected businesses from 4th of May 2020. Also, the President announced that there will be nationwide curfew between the period of 8.00 pm to 6.00 am, restricted interstate movement and mandated the use of face mask in public.

Notably, as business activities are expected to resume, companies are now faced with the challenge of balancing business continuity and employee welfare. In our opinion, companies should adopt a phased transitioning of employees back to the office and ensuring that staffs that cannot work remotely show up at work. Also, a survey to determine health risk and mobility of individual employees should be carried out. After evaluating these, a two-way communication channel should be in place to ensure effectively communication.

For workers that will eventually be required to show up at work, face masks and hand sanitizers should be required and provided. Also, we see the need for businesses to re-arrange and disinfect office spaces regularly, to limit the spread of the virus. Lastly, where possible, companies should provide physical distancing/separation between employees and customers. These measures are not only to protect the employees but to help limit the spread and ensure that the pandemic is over sooner rather than later.

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