What are the impacts of Covid-19 on the working environment in Côte d’Ivoire and what solutions can we provide?

The year 2020 was for many a year that will symbolize a source of prosperity, blessings and joy. Many workers, saw in this new decade a means of accomplishing their projects or even create new ones. Unfortunately, no one could’ve predicted that this new decade will be followed with a pandemic (Coronavirus) that will take us all by surprise. That will distance us from one another, will slow down the progress of our projects or activities and mainly impact our work. What is this pandemic and what impact does it have on the working environment in Cote d’Ivoire?

Covid-19 is a disease caused by the “coronavirus”. This recently discovered virus aims at damaging the lungs and destroy the respiratory system. Its symptoms are often visible and sometimes not. It is easily transmitted. For instance, when an infected person sneezes or makes contact with other people. These actions contribute to the spreading of the virus in our society, including the increasing number of affected people. In Cote d’ivoire, the number of patients increases as the days go on. Indeed, today there are 7,492 cases, 3,068 cures and 54 deaths.

To avoid the expansion of the virus, the government has introduced several types of precautions. These include: wearing masks, washing hands, reducing the number of people in public places, closing schools and universities, establishing a curfew and above all social distancing. These different actions established by the government of Cote d´Ivoire have had an impact on several environments, especially on that of work.

Indeed, the main actors in the workplace who have been affected by these health precautions rules are the managers of bars, restaurants, nightclubs or any other entity that benefits from public presence (Churches and Mosques). Several restaurants, bars and nightclubs had to close due to the curfew and lack of customers. These actions may have had negative financial and personal consequences. Religious entities had to comply with government rules and shut down as well.

Companies and organizations are also affected by this health crisis. Many of them have had to reassess their professional interactions by abandoning the traditional workplace for a more digital space, with meetings by videoconference and sharing of information by emails. Several companies and organizations had to postpone projects and activities to comply with the Covid-19 prevention rules.

This situation obviously has had an impact on the turnover of these different companies and organizations. One of the impacts that is likely to affect the working environment in Côte d’Ivoire is the increase in the unemployment rate. Indeed, the country has always had to fight this scourge. With the arrival of this pandemic that has completely changed the workplace, many employees and managers will be forced to renegotiate their place in the workplace.

It was predictable that the arrival of this pandemic would bring more negative than positive consequences in the labor sector. However, certain solutions can be provided to overcome this issue.

First, the government should finance SMEs that will be strongly affected during the duration of this pandemic to enable them to get back on their feet and find their customers. We must also think about postponing or even canceling the payment of certain taxes and invoices and thus allow workers to reorganize their budgets and financing. These rules also apply to different organizations.    

Second, the population should follow the health precautions implemented by the government to fight the pandemic. Though, the Covid-19 represents an impromptu situation for any worker or citizen in the world, the cessation of activities and confinement can represent an emotional, mental, physical and financial challenge, however, only our collective choices and actions during this period can contribute in eradicating this virus and enable us to regain our lives again.

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