Most commercial enterprises need advanced screening and identification methods in a time of COVID-19. There are very few exceptions to the rule. Computer vision solutions such as thermal imaging through infrared thermography (IRT) that detects Elevated Body Temperature (EBT) of employees play a vital role in detecting potentially dangerous infections which could be brought into the work environment. In fact, this type of technology was in use at ports of entry into different countries as far back as the days of the SARS threat.
There are a number of new technologies available which could be combined to provide an optimal, all-in-one access control option to a business. In addition to IRT and Artificial Intelligence, face recognition is employed to accurately identify, categorise and trigger actions based on detection and tracking of objects in the workspace. But, as vital as surveillance precautionary measures are to protect employees, clients and suppliers where there could be physical interaction, should we not also be thinking about the psychological wellbeing of the people upon which we rely daily?
The American Psychological Association has identified a number of psychosocial hazards in the workplace which could be harmful to an enterprise and its employees. These include factors such as bullying and harassment.
The ideal organisation understands the significant benefits of diversity in the workplace. By employing people from different backgrounds and preferences, an organisation is much better placed to develop a competitive advantage. An understanding of, and access to, new customers or clients, coupled with the development of new products and services can only lead to growth. Another important gain is that of improved company reputation. But, the most important effect is undoubtedly the promotion of social cohesion – the greatest gift any likeminded group of people can offer the world.
We should also be able to offer workers one-on-one interviews to understand their concerns and guide them to a safe place in which they will feel less stressed. This could serve to increase their resilience and wellbeing once an issue has been identified. But this is not necessarily where support should end.
Do we have any understanding of their circumstances once they leave the building in the afternoon? Is Michelle in an abusive relationship, or is Busi going through a divorce? Is Sibongile coping with the new baby and will Joe be able to pay the school fees at the beginning of the year. These are all stressful personal circumstances which, if not addressed, can cause distractions and an impactful loss in productivity.
Psycho-injuries are more prevalent in some work types such as healthcare, emergency services, social work and even teaching. Transport and construction workers also are exposed to danger and trauma which could, in the long run, lead to alcohol or drug abuse. The answer is to try and identify these psychological hotspots and provide a facility where coping mechanisms and interpersonal skills can be fostered. A single leader with an advanced EQ can inspire an entire organisation – whereas one dogmatic and inflexible leader can scupper the efforts of many people who are trying their best to make a positive impact.
The virus is still lurking in our midst. So, maybe now is the time to ensure not only the physical safety of your team, but also give thought to how they are feeling today. And prepare that motivational address. Your words may just go a long way to increase personal resilience. Go on, do it!
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Altron Bytes Managed Solutions
1 Vlak Street, Selby Ext. 5, 2092, Gauteng,
PO Box 3591, Johannesburg, 2000,
Gauteng, South Africa
+27 (11) 373 4000