Featured image by Markus Winkler from Unsplash
For many individuals, 2020 has been the most challenging year of their lives. It all goes back to the COVID-19 pandemic. You might have lost your job or you might have been furloughed by your employer.
Companies are trying to come back to life right now, even with the continued COVID-19 pandemic’s threat. They’re attempting to change their business models or reopen their physical locations to allow their employees to come back to work. Should you feel safe going back to work? What are your options? Let’s look at what to consider as you try to navigate these troubling times.
Risk of Contracting COVID-19 at Work
Some jobs don’t allow you work from home. Here are a few examples:
- Food service occupations
- Retail positions
Your layoff period from your job may have recently ended, and now you can return to work. However, is it safe since the COVID-19 pandemic is still arising? It depends on the steps your employer is taking. They should be providing handwashing and sanitizing stations available at all times. For instance, you should feel somewhat safer if your provided a mask at work that covers your mouth and nose.
However, the reality is these measures are not one hundred percent safe. Before deciding whether or not to go back, see if you’re eligible for worker’s compensation if you contracted COVID-19 at work. However, does vary state by state, so look into your state’s eligibility qualifications.
Realistically, it’s probably not completely safe for you to go back to any job where you’ll be around a surplus of people. At the same time, you need money, and your savings may be running low or even gone by this point. You’re in a similar situation as a lot of people. Your only option might be to return to work, take every precaution you can, and hope for the best.
Considering a Different Career During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Some people might feel like the risk is just too high. You might have an immunocompromised health condition, in which case it’s too dangerous going back to a job where you’re interacting with others. You may have to look for another position altogether. That could seem like a daunting task at the moment, but you do have a few things on your side such as:
- Businesses are allowing individuals to work from home more than ever before
- Companies are changing their business model from brick-and-mortar locations to eCommerce
If you decide to forego returning to your old job and want to seek online work during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can take advantage of sites like Indeed and LinkedIn to assist you.
It would be best to leave your current job on good terms, if you can. A strong recommendation will benefit your resume when applying for a new job.
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Additional Dangers Besides the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you do decide to head back to your job at a brick-and-mortar store, mask-wearing and social distancing aren’t the only new practices you’ll be adapting to. Now, there’s a risk of people acting aggressively regarding your store’s strict policies.
We have seen several troubling videos of individuals trying to push their way into stores without wearing masks, defying city, and state regulations. If you are returning to work at a physical location, you and your coworkers should talk to your bosses about safety measures to protect you from these deranged individuals.
In recent months, anti-maskers have even killed store employees in different states for enforcing the rules set by their employer. It’s not hyperbole to say that your life could be at risk. There’s a chance your employer is willing to hire armed security guards for their physical locations. However, this does not guarantee your safety.
Again, it is ultimately your decision whether you feel safe enough to return, but you should be aware of these dangers.
Changing Company’s Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic
You might work for a company where you’re in an authoritative position. If so, you could possibly meet with other supervisors and discuss what changes can be made this year to make the workplace safer for you and your fellow employees.
The reality is, many companies can still thrive without brick-and-mortar locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. If an eCommerce model is at all realistic for the business entity, then the owners owe it to their employees to at least consider it.
This year presents a unique opportunity to reassess every detail of how the company does business. They can reanalyze concepts like remote working and supply chains. Online tools such as Zoom meetings and proprietary online work platforms can help organize business tasks.
This is the year to embrace technology if there ever was one. If you and your company expressed reluctance in the past to engage with technology such as customized workplace apps, it’s time to get over your fears. Decisions that are made now should be focused on keeping employees safe and the business moving forward.
You may feel as if you can’t return to your job because of the risk the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. If so, then you might have to look into some extreme cost-cutting measures until you can find another source of income.
That could mean moving back in with relatives. It’s not ideal. However, more than half of those under thirty have moved back in with their parents in 2020, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you continue searching for work, you’ll also have to watch out for any excess expenditures. For instance, choosing grocery shopping over ordering takeout food. You can also save money by purchasing generic store brands rather than the brand-named products.
It will be challenging balancing your safety and work-life for the remainder of the year. News outlets report that vaccines may be on the way, but it’s not quite here yet. Remember to make the safest work decisions for yourself and your family.
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