Workers need to return to the office, says WHO

The European chief of the WHO have urged workers to shed their fear of returning to the workplace, saying it is an inevitable development.
By: | September 14, 2020

To revive stuttering economies that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are looking to ease restrictions on lockdowns that were implemented to combat the pandemic.

This is turn, has led many organisations to ponder the next step to take as they begin to adapt to a new normal. Do they continue with remote working policies, or do they begin to oversee a gradual return to the workplace for their employees?

Workers need to return to the office and should not be “too scared” of returning to normality, said Dr Hans Kluge, the regional director for Europe at the World Health Organisation (WHO). This, he said, will not only benefit the economy, but more importantly, people’s mental health.

While urging people to adhere to physical distancing restrictions, Dr Kluge cautioned against being “overly alarmed” about increasing infections in some countries.

“It’s normal that if you open up, you are going to see spikes, so that’s nothing surprising,” he added. “What we hope for, and we are seeing it, is to be positive.”

“Several countries have learnt how to apply the measures in a more localised way, in a more tailored way to protect both health and economies because it’s a balance.”

READ: 7 in 10 workers in Malaysia, Thailand uncomfortable returning to workplace

Despite the WHO’s comments, it would appear that some workers are simply not ready to return to the workplace. In a survey conducted by Qualtrics earlier this year, over 69% of workers across all age groups in Malaysia and Thailand said they are not comfortable returning to their workplaces until a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 can be found.