The World Health Organisation (WHO) was not in a rush to declare the coronavirus a pandemic. However, on the 11th of March, 2020, it finally did. With over 110,000 cases reported worldwide, COVID-19 has become a global concern that has institutions and organisations around the globe shutting down.
The virus poses a very real threat and health experts around the world are still not entirely certain about its impact. One thing is certain though; its effect has been felt everywhere from Hollywood to the office.
Consequently, many countries have placed travel bans and people are being encouraged to work from home. Large gatherings have also been discouraged. This means that people can no longer go to the games or the movies. They cannot attend concerts or even go to church.
In Kenya, the Ministry of Education has ordered all schools and institutions of higher learning to close. In addition, COVID-19 hotlines are being shared on various social media platforms.
Why the Need for Seclusion?
The media is awash with video footage and images of people wearing masks in a bid to reduce their chances of contracting the coronavirus. There have been reports, sometimes comedic ones, of people panicking because someone sneezed or coughed.
Public places in many countries are being sanitized and fumigated. Extensive campaigns encouraging people to wash their hands regularly are being run. All this goes to show you that coronavirus is highly contagious.
How it is Transmitted
The coronavirus is clinically known as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). When someone contracts the virus, it results in the disease known as COVID-19. The disease is passed on from one human to another via respiratory droplets.
Being a new strain, the coronavirus is not familiar to our immune systems. As of now, a vaccine has not been developed for it.
Health experts believe that the main method of transmission is person-to-person contact. Contact with an infected person exposes you to the virus. If they cough or sneeze without covering their nose or mouth, you are likely to be infected as well.
They will transfer respiratory droplets from their mouth and nose that carry the virus in them and transfer it to you. They may also pass it through a handshake. If they touched their mouth or nose with their hand, they can transfer it if they shake your hand.
If you then touch your own mouth and nose, you will give the virus access to your body. This is why health experts are giving directives such as the following:
- Do not touch your face, mouth or nose
- Wash your hands regularly
- Use a hand-sanitizer regularly
- If you have any of the symptoms, seek medical intervention immediately and self-quarantine
- Do not shake hands
This, in essence, is why there is a need for seclusion. It helps to reduce person-to-person transmission which helps to curb the spread of the virus.
The Impact of Seclusion on Businesses and the Economy
Seclusion is already having far-reaching effects on individuals. When the first case of coronavirus was announced in Kenya, there was a rush to stock up on toilet paper and hand-sanitizer in many households.
That brought about a flurry of memes and hilarity as people tried to relate the virus to the product. However, it poses a real threat to businesses first and the economy at large. Travel bans are already in place. That spells doom for the tourism industry.
In addition, Kenya has strong economic ties to China. In addition, many business people import their wares from outside the country. The ban on travelling is bound to affect many businesses and the rollover on the economy will be just as great.
Schools are closed and the most pressing question on Kenyans’ minds is, “What next?” How long will they be closed? What will the students, especially the candidates, do? What about the teachers?
In addition, people who are in seclusion cannot report to their offices. The hours lost may not be recovered when the crisis is finally over.
Remote Working through the Pandemic
Simply put, working remotely means working from outside the conventional office. This could mean working from home. Is it not a pity that many spend so much money creating homes they barely spend time in?
Working remotely could also mean being able to travel with your work. All you need is your computer or laptop and a reliable internet connection. You could hold video conferences in place of meetings and submit your work via email or fax.
This is the way to go as we grapple with SARS-CoV-2. Remote workers will have limited to no physical contact with other people. Additionally, they will also not be able to transmit the virus if they have it.
Benefits of Remote Workers to Business
Your business could benefit greatly from having your employees work from home. Here are a few of the benefits you will enjoy:
1. No more Commuting
The work commute, especially in Nairobi, is probably one of the most stressful in the world. Whether you use public transport or private means, the jams and matatu shenanigans are enough to inspire a migraine.
Working remotely would drastically reduce the amount of time and money spent travelling to work. Also, the worker is able to get enough sleep as they are not stressing about catching the bus at 4:00 am. You will have a well-rested and ultimately, more productive worker.
Most importantly, you will not have workers worried about contracting the virus. This is very possible on the crowded, fast-moving matatus which always have space for one more.
2. Giving the Worker More Autonomy
Individual workers may have varying ideas about how they want to work. However, in the office, they are expected to fit into one box or follow certain protocols. When they work remotely, they have more liberty to work how and when they want to.
Naturally, you will have some rules to guide their work. They can clock in and out at specific hours, for instance. However, they will appreciate the freedom to create their own preferred work environment.
3. Make Better use of Technology
Technological advances make it possible to work from home. There are faster Wi-Fi connections, smart gadgets, VoIP, instant messaging and more. With these tools, seclusion need not be a cause for panic in the business world.
Hence, it is easy to communicate with clients and send work documents back and forth.
Apart from reducing the chances of infection, remote working gives you more satisfied workers. This results in increased productivity. Given the choice between getting a raise and remote working, you would be surprised at the number that would prefer the latter.
The one thing that this pandemic has brought home to many is the possibility and need to explore remote working. It is possible for your business to continue raking in the profits via remote working.