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Vaccinated but not covid-free!

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

The Banking and Finance Industry Sector is considered a secured job sector in the Nepali job market. I was attracted to this sector when I came to know about the benefits the employees of the banks had. I have been in the sector for 2 years. And the securedness made more sense when the global pandemic hit the world and many people lost their jobs but this sector did not compromise on the staff salary while providing additional benefits like covid insurance and easy work shifts. When the Covid-19 pandemic second wave hit, we were not prepared for, atleast I wasn’t.. I count myself guilty as we had stopped taking the pandemic seriously. I had completed my dose of the vaccine and what could have possibly gone wrong?, I thought..

Just two day after the lockdown all my family tested positive except me which was surprising as I had all the symptoms..When I asked for a day off from the office due to this situation, they were kind enough to grant me four days ofpaid leave, as part of the contract tracing case. I felt helpless to see everyone at my home with fever and lying down weak. The covid cases rose in our organization too and we got a circular from the HR mentioning that we will be working in schedules so we had to go for work only twice a week and we didn't have work from home policy. I was scheduled the next week, I decided to get my PCR test before joining which was covered by the medical insurance the company provides.

What could have possibly gone wrong took an unexpected turn, My report said “Positive”, and I wondered if the the first report I got was just showing the false negative. So, I called my department head to inform him about my report. My supervisor was nice enough to add me 2 weeks of paid leaves, but there was an important project going on and I was a part of it. I had researched so much on that project but just because we did not have a Work-From-Home policy I was replaced and had to hand over all of the materials to a different person. I am very serious about the jobs assigned to me and having to hand over all my hard work to someone else at the time of showing results was frustrating. I know a lot of people are losing jobs around the world because of the pandemic and me ranting about not getting to work while having the privilege of paid leaves is not fair enough. But, I think organizations have to make proper plans for adapting to the new normal. Yes, its better for employees to take rest when they are affected with covid and there will be many other opportunities in the future but I wished I could complete the project I started. At least it would have been an escape from the boring isolation of having nothing to do. Also, a lot of things were going on in my mind after seeing the death rates in the news. When I talked to my friend and they were having virtual therapy sessions organized from their workplace and getting calls from HR to ask about their conditions or if they had problems which the company could help them with. I don’t even know the HR at my workplace even knows or keep track of the total number of employees who were infected by Covid.

So, I think it's high time that organizations prepare themselves for the new normal, normalize working from home as we don’t know how long it is going to be around. Also, that pandemic can hit certain people emotionally and mentally, the organization should conduct sessions to keep check on employee well being. Work from home can also minimize the risk of spreading the virus and organizations should consider creating a secure Work From Home environment addressing the increasing risk of cyber security and also provide training and awareness to their employees. I believe that the employees that feel valued at work will be the ones to perform their task efficiently with great security.

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