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People often welcome the new year with vigor and excitement, seemingly like an annual tradition to turn over a new yet continuous chapter in their lives. 2020 was not an exemption. Since it was the refreshing start of a new decade, people are more eager to make significant changes to their lives, pointing towards growth, improvement, and success. However, it became pretty clear that the world had other plans in mind for 2020.

January 2020 feels like a cursed month, starting with unprecedented Australian bushfires that devastated over 25 million acres of lush forest wildlife and residential areas. Jakarta suffered from its worst flood in seven years at the turn of the decade, leaving 66 dead and over 36,000 residents displaced. Another flood would soon take place the following month, adding more pain and suffering to the people of Indonesia. In the Philippines, an active volcano spewed ash all over the country, eradicating livestock and endangering lives within the city. It happened after over 40 years of inactivity, catching the locals unprepared and speechless of the horrifying sight. Humanity was not exempted from the curse of January 2020 as a freak helicopter accident took the lives of global icon and inspirational athlete Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and eight others.

Those are some of the disastrous events to plague the world in January 2020. There are many more, but we are here to discuss one of the worst events humanity ever experienced: the coronavirus outbreak. The highly contagious virus continues to doom civilization, bringing down nations while claiming over five million lives worldwide within two years. Every country in the world felt the effects of Covid-19 with a global economic recession.

Businesses around the world also took significant hits, with operation shutdowns, closures, debts, and employee retrenchment statistics reaching all-time lows. However, humanity does not back down. We take the hits, suffer the blows, and absorb the pain, but we find ways to adjust, recover, and get back to our feet. Eventually, the arrival of vaccines gives business owners and employees the long-awaited hope that everything will be back to normal. Normal, unfortunately, might be stretching it out. However, business continuity and recovery are still worth celebrating as we end the second year of the global pandemic.

A Glance at Year 3 of the Covid-19 Pandemic

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A highly contagious virus such as Covid-19 is beyond containment, with only a limited number of countries in the world reporting zero cases. You can say most of us could’ve done better in containing the spread or enforcing lockdown and social distancing rules at the start, but it took us over a year to figure out that Coronavirus is airborne. Like every pandemic or epidemic throughout the world’s history, it took humanity time and effort to create a concrete picture of what it is up against this time. In 2021, people finally received the initial defense system that proved effective against all the deadliest diseases in history: the vaccine.

Vaccines directly tie to how business owners pursue continuity and recovery. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines act as a support system for the antibodies capable of competing against Covid-19 once it enters a person’s body. The bolstered defense stops or weakens the symptoms that make the Coronavirus deadly, which brings businesses closer to employees going back on-site: the first step of returning to normal.

Businesses that managed to survive and adjust to the complications of the pandemic are responsible for their workers. After all, employee health and safety remain the top priority, even over business continuity. Before sending employees back to the office, vaccination procurement and rollouts should take place. When partnered with social distancing, the strategy creates herd immunity that makes the office safe for operations.

Today, businesses are returning on-site, with employees getting vaccinated through government or business protocols. However, scientists and medical experts encourage people to take booster shots to strengthen Covid-19 vaccines. Private companies might have to secure those vaccines to ensure the continuation of on-site operations.

As we enter year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that we stand a chance against the virus, even if we have to live with it for the rest of our lives. The on-site return of businesses will still depend on their respective government’s authorization and adjustments to social distancing protocols. Some already have the go-ahead signal to return in 2021, particularly in countries where Covid-19 cases are low. In 2022, we can see that number increase.

A New Normal for Traditional On-Site Setup

There is a feeling of excitement on the possible return to the traditional on-site setup for 2022 if businesses haven’t done it already. However, it doesn’t mean that we can go about our days as if it was pre-pandemic days. No, the virus forced us to change, and most of them should be part of the business establishment setup or the employees’ operational routine.

Vaccine Procurement for Employees and Dependents

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Humanity relies heavily on the defensive features of vaccines to neutralize or minimize the effect of some of the deadliest diseases in history. Medical advancements have beaten polio, tetanus, smallpox, influenza, hepatitis, measles, pneumonia, and other fatal diseases to make the world a safer place. It is only natural for science and medicine to combat Covid-19 with a vaccine, the same defense system that purged past threats.

Employees are your most valuable assets, making it essential for businesses to procure and provide Covid-19 vaccines for them. Business operations will suffer from delays and disruptions when employees go down because of infection. Since vaccines can keep workers safe, getting them is a win-win situation. However, a company’s efforts do not stop with employees. They are in public space, which means there is a high chance they might get exposed and bring the virus to their homes. Having their dependents vaccinated should also be part of the on-site return process, creating a more comfortable safety wall for each of your personnel.

Social Distancing

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Vaccines can stop the Covid-19 virus from becoming fatal, but they might not prevent the contamination process. The scenario makes the interactions between colleagues in the office potentially hazardous. The office needs to adjust to social distancing protocols to ensure that employees work in a safe space. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided business owners with a guide to adjusting office buildings to social distancing protocols.

Daily Sanitation Processes

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Office cleanliness is a critical part of daily operations, with most businesses cleaning the area once a day. However, companies should not take any chances when they return on-site. Increasing the number of sanitation processes to three times a day can help you maintain a clean and safe office. Cleaning isn’t just a Covid-19 prevention protocol. It is also good business. Employees tend to be more productive when working in a sanitized office.

Contact Tracing

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Despite efforts to keep the office 100% free from the virus, there is a chance that an employee suffers from it. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to identify if they have it until they get a test. When an employee shows Covid-19 symptoms, businesses must have the personnel tested and sent home. However, efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus should also begin by checking the person’s interactions with colleagues. Contact tracing allows businesses to perform damage control and get ahead of the interruptions the virus can create for operations.

Rapid HR Assistance for Coronavirus-stricken employees

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Again, we cannot stress enough how valuable people are to any given system, much more to business operations. We are currently living in a dangerous world right now, and asking employees to go to public spaces to resume on-site operations is asking them to risk their lives. Businesses should always prioritize the health and safety of their workers, even if it means taking multiple hits in the financial and production aspects. The mindset should remain true when an employee gets hit with the Covid-19 virus. Human resources should be quick to pull out all the stops for assistance. Taking care of your most valuable assets seems like a job you can outsource, but personal outreach speaks better for employee morale when they suffer from Covid-19 inside the office. Financial and medical assistance should be a given since they will be seeking recovery treatment. However, you can find more things to add to the compensation package.

Free Personal Protective Equipment Supply

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While businesses have a responsibility to keep the office a safe and Covid-free space, employees must also make an effort to protect themselves. As a result, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be present. The inventory includes surgical face masks, alcohol, and hand sanitizers. Some jobs require more PPE, including goggles, hazmat suits, and face shields. However, using them every day could lead to deterioration. PPE can be expensive, and employees might run out of supplies before they can purchase one themselves. This situation is where businesses should assist. Free PPE must be available on-site at all times, giving no window for the virus to infect your employees.

What Changed?

Covid-19 forced businesses to close establishments and pause operations for the safety of employees in 2020. As a result, they underwent long days of struggle and financial losses, with some succumbing to the effects of the pandemic. Business bankruptcy and shutdowns were prevalent, a sign of the pandemic recession every company feared they would join. However, adjustments came at the right time, giving businesses a blueprint to survive and thrive amid the global crisis.

If it wasn’t obvious before the pandemic, digital transformation became necessary as the Covid-19 pandemic limited on-site operations. Utilizing specific digital programs and software can significantly improve efficiency and productivity in the operational tasks they serve. Nearly every business function evolved to incorporate digital means in their respective processes. Amid the pandemic, digital transformation provides a better alternative to manual processes.

However, internal operations are far from the only problem that plagued businesses during the pandemic. Customer engagement becomes challenging without the presence of retail stores and product launch events. Fortunately, the internet provides a massive platform where marketing strategies can attract, engage, and convert customers. Businesses can also sell products online, with digital marketplaces and social media among the best digital spaces to keep businesses growing and succeeding despite the absence of physical stores. A strong online presence helped companies, especially startups, thrive amid the pandemic.

The adjustments weren’t just helpful. They were eye-opening. It felt like no work setup could match on-site arrangements, leading to many companies giving up without even trying. However, it turns out that remote work setups boasted the same effectiveness and productivity. It all boils down to a business owner’s preferences or the availability of resources if there is a chance to return to on-site operations. But if we are talking about cost-efficiency, remote work setups take the cake.

Perhaps the best lesson learned amid the pandemic is that location shouldn’t be a problem for internal operations and customer outreach. Digital transformation and online presence can take care of those issues. All they need are highly skilled remote workers to accomplish them, which is where outsourcing and offshoring services shine. Business owners can benefit from them, especially when they come from low-cost economies and receive significant support from their national government. If you want to experience the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring services for your business or already have plans to, you can book a meeting here.

Will Things Ever Go Back to the Way it Was?

The prospect of returning to on-site operations as if things are back to normal is tempting. Humanity is starting to understand how Covid-19 works and how vaccines can eliminate the threat. Businesses that survived the pandemic might feel ready to return to traditional ways, but there is an important lesson to learn during this global crisis.

No, it will never be the same. Covid-19 will still be present when businesses operations return on-site. There will be many significant adjustments. Those changes will not just be how we operate but how we shape our lifestyles and interact with others. In 2022, the best option is to move forward. Not to return to what once was, but to progress and evolve into something better. Be it may a hybrid of on-site and remote work setup, flexible work hours, or pursuit of more digital transformation, we need to move forward instead of returning to normal. We will still live in a Covid-19 world come 2022, and humanity will win.

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