With COVID-19 dominating news, word "quarantine" is heardeverywhere in the valley. Young or old, rich or poor, rural or urban, literateor illiterate, employer or employee it dominates the gossips, chats, phonecalls or meetings. From government mandated to home quarantine, the purpose isto limit the spread of COVID-19 in absence of an effective treatment orvaccine. Of course, it will contain it but at a cost; boredom, anxiety, pain,agony, fear, stigma, demotivation, negative thinking (related to individual)and negative environment (physical – equipments don't work, nothing works, howdo I work etc; or emotional – people related matters). This type ofenvironment, abundant in demotivating factors is pretty common in academicinstitutions. Nepotism, rewarding non-performers, negative criticism, toomuch/too little work, lack of priorities, too much job security/insecurity,lack of role and goal clarity, feeling of being under-utilized etc., are harmingthe institutional progress. Staff, from clerical to scientific, isquarantined/isolated for decades due to lack of transparent transfer policyresulting into employees demotivation and poor contribution. More the durationmore is the demotivation and even more is the hostile work environment.
Etymologically, the word "quarantine" stipulates a differentnumber, 40, deriving as it does from the Italian quarantina (giorni),or "space of 40 (days)" – originally in the regional Venetian form quarentena –from quaranta ("40"), which is derived from the classical Latin quadraginta ("40"),tallied up from quattuor ("four") and -ginta ("10 times"). Itseparates and restricts the movement of people exposed to a contagious disease.Isolation separates sick people with contagious disease from healthy. Both helpprotect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have acontagious disease. Transfer is " a lateral shift causing movement ofindividuals from one position to another usually without involving markedchange in duties, responsibilities, skills needed or compensation". It may beemployer or employee initiated and can be permanent or temporary. Transfer is amust and essential in an organization, for minimizing politics betweenemployees, for their cordial relationship, increasing work transparency,obviating syndicate of employees for unethical purpose and obviating nepotism.Minimal transfers in academic institutions give rise to adverse effects/vices;severity depends upon the quarantine duration.
Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears wenever use, says Charles Schultz. Unwillingness to take calculated risks holdsus back in achieving excellence. Institutions have the recipe, choice lies withthem, use or not to use. Ample transfer options are available in hitherto longduration quarantine/isolation centres but execution is their choice. Want tohug the success or wail for the failure in future. Employees are happy with thestaycation, do achieve herd immunity against the deadly vices and adapt to thevicious environment but susceptible to outside environment (perceived by theisolated lot as sick).
The views expressed are author's own & not of the institution he works for
Aijaz Ahmad Dar, PhD (Veterinary Medicine) is working as Subject Matter Specialist – Animal Science, KVK Kupwara, SKUAST-Kashmir