With Covid-19 lockdowns being extended throughout the world, borders remain closed; leaving us with two very distinct groups of employees in need of very different forms of support. It is HR’s job to effectively cater to the various needs of workers in both camos, but are they up for it?

The first group is simple enough, and has already received plenty of attention throughout 2020. These are the moms and dads who are forced to work from home, while concurrently managing their children schooling from home.

Some of these families have found themselves spending time with each other 24/7 this year, leading to increased stress. However, it has its ups and downs, with plenty of opportunities for busy family members to bond with each other.

Then there’s the second group of people. They may have gone unnoticed for much of the year but deserve highlighting during the festive season; they’re the employees working overseas and are far from loved ones.

These unfortunate employees have spent most, if not all of 2020 in their host countries and away from friends and family. Add to this a whole new wave of Covid-19 infections which are spreading across the globe, borders are likely to stay closed for quite awhile longer. These workers don’t even need to be that far away to feel isolated. For example,  Malaysian workers in Singapore have found themselves ‘stuck’ and separated from their loved ones, despite the ‘short’ journey home that would usually take no more than an 30 minutes by bus.

Many employers on both sides are desperate to bring their workers home, some of whom have not been able to cross the causeway since the pandemic began. Some employees have even expressed fear over possibly losing their jobs if they could not return to work across the border.

While one can hope for borders to reopen soon, maybe in time for Chinese New Year, leaders should consider supporting employees who may be feeling a little lonelier or isolated this December.

If you’re not sure whether employees need your help, you should take into account the impact of prolonged social isolation.


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