MITIGATING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN THE NHFC WORKPLACE
In mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the NHFC employees, an implementation committee; the extended Safety and Security Committee (SASC) comprising of representatives from business units which are key in the implementation of COVID-19 protocols, was put in place. The SASC meets on a weekly basis, to review the COVID-19 situation in the workplace, to ensure staff is trained, to manage compliance and risk in the workplace, and to ensure communication to staff and to the relevant regulatory institutions such as the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) on a weekly basis and to the governing structures of the organisation. Other responsive and operational strategies which were put in place to ensure the safety of our employees included, commissioning a nurse for a period of six months to screen employees twice a day for COVID-19 symptoms, arranging privately hired transport for 20 of our employees who use public transport, to minimize the virus infection. An online survey of employees to determine the levels of coping with COVID-19 effects was completed and assessed. Following the survey findings, support was provided to staff in need, including their families. Further, an online webinar, on ‘Managing and Growing through Trauma’ was done through the service provider to further empower our employees. Reporting on the impact of COVID-19 takes place on a weekly basis, to SASC, the Executive Management Committee (EXCOM), as well as the NIOH. On a quarterly basis, management reports to the Board and its Committees on the impact of COVID-19 in the organisation.
To date, due to the stringent implementation of the NHFC COVID-19 protocols and the policy framework on COVID-19, in the reporting period, only six NHFC employees were confirmed to have been infected by the virus. All of them recovered and were operational. Sadly, there was one COVID-19 related death in the organisation, this occurring in the month of July 2021.
Indications from the Human Resource Management (HRM) industry concerning the impact of COVID-19 on working practices, specifically remote working, indicates that this has become a norm. As a result, at a global level as well as locally, working practices are changing. In order to align with industry best practice, the NHFC HR Department has developed and obtained approval to a hybrid model of working post COVID-19.
A hybridised model of working now combines the use of technology and face-to-face interaction. This blended work approach is one of the many different working models being currently explored. Nonetheless, because it blends both traditional (face-to-face) and online (remote) working, it is a popular and safe way of exploring new and innovative work options. The key feature about this model is its employeecentric nature, ensuring a good work-life balance.