COVID-19 update and press conference – March. 3, 2021. (PMO)

With most of the island’s workforce currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this country’s Acting Chief Labour Officer, Claudette Hope-Greenidge, is calling for a greater degree of trust from both the employer and employees.

She made the case for greater collaboration during the transition from the traditional bricks and mortar establishments during a press conference entitled: COVID-19, Your Workplace and You at Ilaro Court, this evening.

Mrs. Hope-Greenidge reasoned that based on discussions with both parties, an individual does not have to be in the workplace, so that he or she can be monitored by the employer if that was “just the sole purpose for having the person there”.

“But we have heard reports from some camps from the human resources persons locally, as well as internationally, … that productivity has improved. But I still think we need to be careful there because productivity can be improving for two main reasons. It’s either that persons are at home and they are more comfortable for whatever reason, and they are working harder, or they are being called on to work harder. So, I just want persons to think about that,” she cautioned.

Mrs. Hope-Greenidge also touched on the importance of an adequate workstation setup in the home, hours of work, and employer and employee health and wellness.

“And with the move home, we still need to think about workstation setup, we still need to think about, hours of work, we still need to think about the wellness of the employer and the employees as well. We need to look at encouraging and helping persons, you know, do the same things you would. You would walk down the corridor to talk to a colleague, you can’t do that now, so you get up from your workstation, and you know you do your checks and you do your exercises and so on. So, these are some of the things that the COVID-19 situation has brought about,” she emphasised.

The Acting Chief Labour Officer said with the dramatic shift in employer and employee interaction, technology was now a greater part of the life of the organisation, and it meant that the organisation was now “spread around just as many places as there are employees”.

Mrs. Hope-Greenidge gave the commitment to further develop these issues in a public forum via the Barbados Government Information Service and other media houses.

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