The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted more than just our way of life. The pandemic has also changed the way we work ― moving from the office, back home. And now with the COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner. It stands to reason that organizations would want to get their employees vaccinated. But there are several questions here to be answered.
As a job agency in Singapore, we understand what employers and human resource specialists want. In this article, we’ll be examining the pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace. As well as whether or not companies should encourage employees to take the vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine in the Singaporean Workplace
Before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of the COVID-19 vaccine. Let’s discuss more about the COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore. First announced in late 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine is a voluntary program. According to an article by Human Resources Online, the government aims to import enough vaccines for Singaporeans by the end of 2021.
Some organizations are tempting their employees to go for the voluntary COVID-19 vaccine with overseas company trips. A much welcomed change and opportunity for many employees in Singapore, who spent most of their time working from home or indoors during the lockdown. But with offices in Singapore still observing safety distancing measures and ‘Phase 3’ rules. Do organizations and employers still require their employees to get vaccinated?
Advantages of the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Singaporean Workplace
Of course the vaccine will bring a number of new changes to the office. Some advantages of the vaccination for your employees and self include:
The vaccine will be safe: For those who fear about the safety and legitimacy of the vaccine, it seems like the COVID-19 vaccine will be safe for most of us. According to the government, the vaccine has a 95% efficiency rate. In fact, most of us will be some of the last few to have access to the vaccine. The government will be following the guidelines made by the World Health Organization.
Based on the guidelines, the vaccine will be made available to some of the older members of the public, as well as those vulnerable first. Other individuals set to receive the vaccine first include healthcare and frontline workers. Rest assured that the vaccine has been tried, tested, and careful steps have been taken to allow it to be safe for the most vulnerable amongst us.
Quick return to normalcy: Right now, the new normal requires most of us to adhere to the “Phase 3” social distancing guidelines. This means that employees will have to remain socially distant from one another. Meetings and group discussion should host no more than 8 people. And quarantine measures as well as the COVID-19 swab test will be required for those looking to leave the country for overseas business trips. But with the vaccine, the risks are reduced greatly. This allows for client facing jobs and overseas business travel to resume as per usual.
Low cost: One of the many advantages of the COVID-19 vaccine is that it’ll be free of charge for Singaporean employees as well as migrant workers.
Accessibility: The vaccine will be accessible to all Singaporeans and long term residents in the country. Learn more about the vaccine’s accessibility in this article here.
Safer workplace: With more individuals vaccinated, the risks of transmitting and catching COVID-19 are greatly reduced. In the words of our Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong, “the more of us are vaccinated, the harder it will be for the virus to spread, and the safer we will all be as a society”.
How Can Companies Encourage Employees to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Despite the large number of benefits, organizations in Singapore cannot force its employees to take the vaccine. In addition, a limited study conducted by the Duke-NUS Medical School reported that around 20% of the residents in Singapore do not want to be vaccinated.
However, if the benefits of the vaccine sound splendid to both you and your organization. And you’re looking to encourage employees to take the vaccine. We’ve listed several different ways to promote the COVID-19 vaccination at the workplace below.
Offer useful incentives: Like any other medical treatment, the results of the vaccination differs according to individuals. Some individuals might experience side effects such as fever, fatigue, and pain at the site of the vaccination. As such, your employees might be on the lookout for incentives such as additional medical leaves.
Other incentives that might be tantalizing to your employees include flexible work arrangements to help them cope with the possible side effects of the vaccine. As mentioned above, some companies are offering overseas company retreats in an attempt to encourage more employees to get vaccinated.
Promote healthy habits: Show your employees the importance of the vaccine by promoting healthy habits. Promote other healthy habits alongside the vaccine such as healthy exercise, or even limiting tobacco intake. The key to promoting healthy habits is with effective communication. Let your employees know the benefits of the vaccine, through the power of storytelling. Storytelling is a powerful tool that helps your employees take in stagnant information. This can be done through the use of social influencers and infographics to name a few.
Learn more about the importance of communicating with your employees through storytelling with this BGC Group article.
Avoid forced mandates: Forcing your employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine should be avoided. The choice to get vaccinated is a personal one. Limiting or taking away the right to make your employees’ own choices might lead to workplace dissatisfaction.
So, should organizations force its employees to take the vaccine? The answer is no. However, there are many ways to help promote the vaccine within the company, as listed above. Of course this list is by no means exhaustive. Bookmark this page and keep a lookout for more updates and changes to be made to this list.
What are some other ways for an organization to encourage its employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine? Share them with us in the comments section below!