Sarah Dennis, head of international, Towergate Health & Protection, explains why employers need to factor in local strategies when managing global staff during a pandemic
Despite being amidst the pandemic, comparisons are already being drawn between the success rates of how different countries have managed the Covid-19 outbreak. Some countries are easing lockdown restrictions, whilst others maintain rigid constraints. For SMEs with an international workforce, it’s important to keep abreast of changes globally, via reputable sources such as the World Health Organisation and local governments, to ensure that both their staff and business reputation are adequately protected.
There are significant variations globally in how different countries are managing Coronavirus, and SMEs with a global workforce need to be aware that staff in different countries may need to follow varying guidance.
Differing reactions to the virus
Countries around the globe have taken different approaches to dealing with the pandemic, and they’re also taking different approaches as they come out of lockdown. Sweden took a relaxed approach to lockdown measures, keeping schools for under-16s open and allowing pubs and restaurants to remain open. Whereas in certain regions of Colombia, people were only allowed outside on particular days, in accordance with numbers on their national identity cards. Keeping on top of developments globally is important if SMEs are to advise their staff correctly to support their health and wellbeing.
Variations in easing lockdown
Where lockdown restrictions are being lifted, it is being done so gradually, and SMEs need to understand the terms and conditions according to different countries that have been set by authorities in local regions, keeping on top of guidance issued from each region. For example, in Germany restrictions were lifted – with small shops and secondary schools reopening in early May, but wearing masks was made mandatory on public transport and in shops in most regions. Other countries, such as Singapore and Australia, are using contact-tracing, to keep on top of Covid-19 numbers – helping to control the spread of the virus.
SMEs with a global workforce need to keep up-to-date with country-specific changes related to Coronavirus. In the UK, we’re accustomed to the Government providing a daily briefing to the public, with the latest announcement about Coronavirus management. Other countries have used similar ways to brief their countries, and it’s important that employers access the most accurate and relevant information country to country, from reputable sources such as local governments and the World Health Organisation. This can also help quash any misinformation from rumour mills and give employees peace of mind that they’re following the correct guidance.
The news is awash with how different countries are managing the pandemic and if staff are to comply with local guidance, it’s important that SMEs follow advice from reputable sources.