Message from the Chairman
Covid-19, while posing challenges to health experts globally, is also posing serious challenges to staff and executives in the corporate world. HR departments have never had to deal with staff issues at the level at which COVID 19 demands, and thus what may appear as reluctance from HR personnel may be just the lack of knowledge on how to effectively manage the new challenges they now face.
This situation reminds me of the leadership adage that says:" Your level of anger, stress or frustration at any given situation, is a direct reflection of your inability to manage a situation."
The Government of Belize enacted Statutory Instrument Number 38 of 2020 on March 25, 2020 which outlines a set of immediate measures to be implemented by the Government that are deemed as necessary to safeguard public health and prevent the spread of COVID 19.
- This post specifically deals with QUARANTINE (COVID 19 EMERGENCY MEASURES ) ORDER, 2020 No. 9
- An employer shall have a duty if satisfied that an employee is able to discharge the duties of that employee from the employee's place of residence, to grant the employee permission to do so without imposing any adverse consequences to the employee in respect thereof.
- An employee whose assigned tasks can only be discharged at the place of employment is required to attend for work at that place unless otherwise permitted by the employer as a part of the employer's measures to combat the risk of transmission of the COVID 19 at the place of employment. The grant of permission to an employee under this paragraph shall not count against the leave entitlements of that employment unless otherwise agreed between the employer and the employee.
During the last 2-4 weeks we have seen progressive companies make the move to secure opportunities for staff to work from home remotely through video conferencing software i.e. ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, etc.
They have also assisted with providing laptops or equipping personal laptops with security systems to facilitate such a process.
My experience however that while the IT Department of many organizations can easily transition to such a move and assist staff, HR Departments may not be able to achieve the same level of paradigm shift if they are not technology oriented.
They may add such reasons for non conformance such as confidentiality, availability of equipment, security concerns, financial resources, etc but which in reality displays the mental blocks for a real paradigm shift.
I will even add that where there is the technology divide, organizations with HR management that displays a sense of humanity and soul are able to cross the divide by seeking external help to make such a transition possible.
Now its law, but many organizations did not need a law to recognize the opportunity arising from such a challenge. I do believe that even with the law there will still be resistance to this move.
In my view this is one of the greatest opportunities for the management of any HR Department to lead with a heart but at the same time recognizing that remote working is the new wave forward, and working in the office will never be the same after this. This is one of the greatest opportunities for leadership for HR management.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 610-3924.
Raineldo D. Guerrero
Chairman Belize Institute of Management
Government of Belize Press Release is shown below.