Prepare, Prevent and Respond to COVID-19
This project supported through the CARES Act under the Family Violence & Prevention Services Act informing the community to prepare, prevent and respond to COVID-19
Written by: Mary Peck
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all aspects of life for people around the world. Living through a pandemic caused many people to see changes in their physical health, mental health, and social interactions.
One area of life that changed during the pandemic is the professional sphere. Organizations adopted a variety of strategies in order to keep their staff safe, including remote work, mask policies, flexible scheduling, and more.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACEWhile the technology has been available for remote work for over a decade, working-from-home was a new experience for many workers at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
According to Pew Research Center, 57% of workers whose jobs can be performed remotely had never worked from home prior to the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. These new experiences have led to a variety of workplace changes in communication strategies, project management tools, and collaborative efforts. Many workplaces have also amended their previous sick leave policies to account for highly infectious diseases such as COVID.
American Samoa fought to reach high vaccination rates while keeping the border closed in 2020 and 2021, and businesses had to quickly adjust and re-evaluate past practices involving sickness in the workplace. In 2023, the ASDOH Community Clinics continue to offer COVID testing, as well as documentation for sick leave and home visits.
STRATEGY #1: PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF DISEASE In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) established recommended practices to improve the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Some of these recommendations included:
These recommended practices are still helpful for organizations in 2023. While these practices can help to limit the spread of disease, during the height of the pandemic many organizations, including the Alliance, chose to implement work-from-home policies.
By sending employees home and helping them establish workstations where they can perform their duties, organizations such as the Alliance were able to limit exposure to disease.
STRATEGY #2: PROVIDING THE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS When switching to a remote work environment, it is important for organizations to ensure that their staff has all of the tools they need for success.
For the American Samoa Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, this meant providing staff with the materials needed to create workplace stations. According to Executive Director Jennifer Tofoaeono, the Alliance provided staff with:
These tools allowed Alliance staff to continue to help survivors and advocates during the pandemic, even as they worked from their homes.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights additional tech tools that can help remote teams to thrive. In addition to the tools listed by the Alliance leadership, the Chamber of Commerce recommends virtual tools and apps such as:
Providing these tools in the event of a public health crisis can ensure that your staff are able to complete their duties with minimal stress.
STRATEGY #3: PRIORITIZING SAFETY Since 2020, the Alliance has worked to prioritize safety in their offices in Tafuna and Nu'uuli. The safety precautions taken include:
There are many small ways that organizations can prioritize safety in the face of a pandemic. Providing masks, offering information about vaccination and local treatment options, and re-evaluating sick leave policies are simple and low-cost ways to prioritize employee safety.
BUILDING A BETTER WORKPLACE In the aftermath of the pandemic, organizations around the world have been given the chance to make changes, big and small, that create safer and healthier spaces.
Building a better workplace means prioritizing staff wellness. Building a better workplace means taking steps to improve the health and safety of anyone who walks through your doors. How are you building a better workplace?
If you are looking for more information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can visit https://www.asalliance.co/covid-19-monthly-articles for a collection of articles available in English and Samoan. These articles are “funded by the CARES Act under the Family Violence and Prevention Services Act informing the community to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19.”
Written by staff or Alliance Partners