In the past, companies have used lessons learned during periods of disruption to improve their standard operating practices and the COVID-19 outbreak is no different. Through listening to expert advice, we can minimise (and ideally prevent) any future risk. Generally, viruses such as COVID-19 tend to seriously effect elderly people or those with underlying health conditions – but this does not mean correct precautions shouldn’t be taken where necessary across our whole business.
Teseteo ask our staff to wash their hands (with soap for at least 20 seconds) and regularly sanitise. This is promoted through posters and signs in the office and washrooms. We encourage those who are feeling ill to work from home and maintain social distancing (at least 1 metre/3 feet) where necessary. Hands come in contact with many surfaces throughout the day, so people need to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. It is important to follow good respiratory hygiene; covering mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing and disposing of used tissues immediately – advice taken from WHO.
2. Remote Working
Logistically, Ethiopia is not the best of locations for remote working because power cuts often occur in some residential areas. That being said – Teseteo do our best to give staff an opportunity to work from home as and when the need may arise. It includes supplying necessary equipment and connectivity (i.e. WiFi) if management decide remote working is a good option. This can be relevant in a number of scenarios – pregnancy, sick leave or when someone is showing concerning symptoms. Thankfully our SaaS platform, Connex One, can be accessed and fully operated from anywhere via laptop or desktop.
3. Access to Medical Expertise
Addis Ababa is home to a wide variety of doctors, nurses and health professionals (both native and foreign). Teseteo’s leadership stay in regular contact with these to ensure our company has access to immediate advice when it is needed. Having a doctor on call means we can diagnose and advise our staff on any health issues or concerns they may have. From a management point of view, it also allows us to regularly evaluate and inspect our operations to ensure optimum hygiene. Teseteo want our staff to feel safe and that can only be done alongside the assistance of qualified professionals/experts.
4. Sick leave and pay
In accordance with Ethiopian employment law, staff who have completed their probation period are entitled to a maximum of 6 months’ sick leave per year. This needs to be accompanied by an official doctor’s letter. The first month must be fully paid, the next two months must be half paid, and the last three months can be taken but without pay. Maternity leave is 90 working days of which all are fully paid (30 days antenatal and 60 days postnatal). Staff are entitled to five days unpaid leave in cases of exceptional/serious events. Employers are obliged to adequately safeguard the health and safety of all workers.
5. Social Distancing
It is impossible to maintain social distancing at all times, but measures can be taken when needed to reduce the transmission of a bug/disease. This involves avoiding contact with people displaying symptoms and keeping clear of public transport or large gatherings (where necessary). Teseteo have spacious offices with excess floors and rooms available – a valuable resource if employees with or without symptoms wish to distance themselves. Practising good general hygiene and staying 2 metres (6ft) away from anyone who seems ill is also effective. Remote working can be used as a last resort.
6. General Health and Safety
HSE is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health and safety. They are a useful source of information for any business wishing to create a good environment – www.hse.gov.uk.