As home turns into office

As home turns into office
Representational Pic

With the onset of the pandemic Covid-19, a huge challenge emerged for organizations to carry out their functions through Human Resources. A disease that killed people around the world without any accurate records: those records will be in estimates as of now. It will take years to come to count the number of people who died of it. During this uncertain period, some have lost their loved ones. Everyone has his/her own story to tell – some lost their father, some lost their mother, on roads while gasping… a disease that needs oxygen as medicine for remedy. People were making queues to arrange oxygen cylinders for their loved ones. Lucky are those who recovered from such disease, however, the trauma that they carry is incurable for them and for those who witnessed it. It is going to haunt them for years.

Being a novel and highly transmissible disease, this is something that organisations have never experienced in the past. During training sessions, employees are trained to encounter certain situations and crises. However, this is such a kind of disease that no one is trained in and no one was prepared to deal with it. Organisations can’t work in a vacuum, so homes became offices to carry out day to day functions. Every individual has his/her way of thinking and holds a different opinion. For example, lactating mothers, expecting mothers and sick people preferred to work from home. People working in geographically distant locations also preferred this decision where they didn’t need to visit the office location. Every life became virtual causing an imbalance in social development.

Even though we have labour laws enacted to protect the interests of employees at the workplace, however, we may have not defined the laws related to working from home. Following are certain highlights:

Difficult to ascertain working hours while working from home and more challenging is to measure the overtime.

Since the wages vary from state to state, there is no uniformity/consensus of having a centralized wage system to avoid deprivation or wage inequality.

Health safety and POSH needs to be defined while working at home.

Most of the Companies are incurring the cost of all such equipment, but imposing such responsibility on companies would add huge financial losses to the overburdened financial status of the company due to the pandemic. The other possible approach could be cutting the transportation cost and other facilities cost and converting it to furnish the equipment to the employees.

I have spoken to a lot of employees and they complain that companies are saving (Operating costs) Internet WiFi, Workplace Rent, AC, Transportation and miscellaneous costs and employees are paying WiFi and other equipment charges out of their pockets with no reimbursements.

These challenges and difficulties need to be talked about, by Unions and by individuals. The cost of working from home and turning homes into offices needs to be calculated on many fronts, and now.

Antibodies more in vaccinated people with a prior COVID19 infection: Study

As per a latest study, antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, stay more durable in people who were infected by the disease and then received two doses of vaccine compared with those who only got immunized.

The research, published in Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday, followed 1,960 health care workers in the US who had received both doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

This included 73 people who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result before the first vaccine dose.

The 73 were divided into two groups those who were infected at 90 days or closer to the first vaccine dose, and those whose exposure to the virus was more than 90 days before the initial shot.

After adjusting for vaccine type, age and sex, antibody levels were compared for those with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection at one, three and six months following the second vaccine dose.

The antibody levels were also compared at one and three months following the second dose between the two groups with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The two mRNA vaccines evaluated in the study introduce the body's immune system to S1, a protein subunit that is a component of the spikes found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2.

The spikes enable the virus to latch onto healthy cells and infect them.

Immunoglobulin G antibodies, elicited by S1 from the vaccines stimulating the immune system, neutralise the virus particles, preventing infection by SARS-CoV-2, or at least reducing the severity of the disease.

"We found that health care workers with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection followed by two doses of mRNA vaccine -- therefore, three independent exposures to the S1 spike protein -- developed higher antibody levels than those with vaccination alone," said study lead author Diana Zhong, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, US.

"The relative differences were 14 per cent higher at 1 month following the second vaccine dose, 19 per cent at three months and 56 per cent at six months," Zhong said.

The study participants with a PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection more than 90 days before their initial vaccination had adjusted antibody levels 9 per cent and 13 per cent higher than those who were exposed to the virus less than or equal to the 90-day mark.

"This suggests that a longer interval between infection and first vaccine dose may enhance the antibody response," said study senior author Aaron Milstone, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Further investigation is needed to determine whether increased post-vaccination durability in previously infected people is attributable to the number of exposures to the virus, the interval between exposures, or the interplay between natural or vaccine-derived immunity, Milstone added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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