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Celebrating women’s month – What can we do differently this year?

Devan Moonsamy

August has always been the month of celebration of women. The month is set aside to commemorate more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on the 9th of August 1956 in protest against the Pass Laws to women. As the country passes the 500 000 mark in terms of positive cases of Covid-19 it is hard to keep a positive spirit.

The month of August often sees activities, events and gatherings within organisations to commemorate and celebrate women. This year however with the corona virus changing the course of planned events, it might not be possible.

But can we still find a way to make the month special amid the pandemic?

We most definitely can.

As a company you can still celebrate your outstanding female staff. Use this time to identify and recognise female staff that have been going above and beyond for the organisation. You can celebrate them by sharing a post on social media recognising their outstanding effort.

You could also do a profile of the female staff in the organisation and celebrate the longest standing employees by posting it up on your company website. This way your customers get to know your team.

Despite being in 2020, many companies still have challenges in terms of gender equality in the work place. This is the perfect time to iron out any of those issues by launching a campaign to address any circumstances of gender inequality or injustice that might have transpired in the workplace. By this we mean give your staff the platform to come to you and address any concerns pertaining to their role in the organisation.

As much as the month of August celebrates women, we can’t help but feel that it’s the same cycle every year. We host a celebration, raise a glass to women and then go back to continuing with the way we do things. So, the real question is what can we do differently this year to show appreciation and acknowledge the phenomenal role women play in our lives?

The best way to show appreciation is to initiate upskilling. We have female employees who have been with us for decades. Is it no time that we invest in their future? Why not look at a training programme that will give them skills and enhance their work experience. This will not just make them better at what they do but also give them some sort of learning opportunity that they can be proud of.

We at the ICHAF Training Institute specialise in integrated learning which will motivate and uplift your staff. We offer a range of courses from soft skills such as conflict management, business writing and communication to a range of Microsoft courses. We also offer learnerships which is a great way to upskill staff members who have been with organisation for a very long time.

The month of August does not have to lose its spirit and it should not go by without any initiative being shown to appreciate staff. Use the time to recognise and commend the efforts of staff who have made it possible for the wheel to keep turning during a pandemic.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | Email: devan@ichaftraining.co.za | Website: ichaftraining.co.za | devan-moonsamy.com

How to respond when an employee tests positive for Covid-19

Devan Moonsamy 

South Africa is seeing a rapid increase in the number of people testing positive for the corona virus. The numbers have surpassed the 450 000 mark and continue to climb daily sending panic to South Africans. 

Right now, the numbers are turning to names of people we know who are infected. This is both terrifying and worrying as we continue with our day to day. We have also seen the education unions calling on schools to be closed to ensure that staff and learners are home as the numbers grow. 

As much as that might be a relief to parents and families of children and teachers it is a concern to other industries who are seeing more and more people testing positive for the virus.

 One of the biggest concerns which I have addressed previously is the stigma in the workplace around the virus. But what about how employees handle the news of a possible positive case of the virus. 

When an employee notifies you that they have the virus or have come into contact with someone who does, instead of spreading panic initiate a deep cleaning and sanitizing of the building.  This will allow you and the staff members time to be in isolation and then get tested should there be visible signs of the virus.

When this period is complete and staff are returning to the office ensure you have a great deal of social and physical distancing. Create separate work spaces and spread people out all over the offices. 

Ensure that masks are worn at all times in the office. Provide sanitizers around the building and ensure that staff are aware that it must be used. Get the cleaning team to clean the offices every afternoon with proper care. 

Provide regular information on steps that should be taken should someone feel like they have the virus. We also should be mindful that this is flu season, staff members who are showing signs of flu should be encouraged to stay home to prevent them from being exposed to more people with a strained immune system.

We have to accept that the virus is around and we can either take the steps and work with it or choose to close business and risk job loss. 

At the same time, we need to understand the predicament our staff are in. We need to make them feel comfortable to talk to use about concerns they have around the virus. In fact if they choose to work from home and this is a possibility we must be open to it. 

We should not look at having a positive case as a disaster in the office but rather a chance to come together and still keep the wheel turning. 

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | Email: devan@ichaftraining.co.za | Website: ichaftraining.co.za | devan-moonsamy.com

How to effectively learn and study during a lockdown

Devan Moonsamy

South Africa is still on level 3 of a lockdown. This has been met with increased criticism as calls grow for schools to be closed immediately. This comes as the number of people tested positive for the Corona virus increases daily.

While many unions and organisations are encouraging a complete closure until the numbers reduce providing less of a threat for our children at school, university learners have still had to keep the flame burning with regards to online studying.

Online classes using zoom and other portals for communication has proven to be exceptional in terms of university students getting syllabus complete. Infact many private schools have also opted for the online learning method in a bid to complete syllabus and to prevent a major backlog.

Whilst we applaud the use of technology, we also understand the many challenges that accompany learning from home or studying during a lockdown. The challenges can range from unreliable internet connection, to financial constrains preventing you from buying data to use the internet.

Below we look at ways in which you can ensure effective studying and learning during lockdown

  • First and foremost organise a study space. Whether it be for your child who is studying over zoom or a university learner identifying a study space no clutter makes it easier to concentrate. As much as sometimes it is comfortable to sit on your bed and study or learn online this will inevitably result in you wanting to have a snooze. To avoid this, create a study space that will be used to complete work that needs to be done. If you are sharing this space perhaps allocate time this way you have time to work by yourself.
  • You must limit distractions. We know how hard it can be for parents embarking on the new journey of home schooling as kids will always be asking for a break to paly with their toys or watch their favourite show. The only way to prevent them from being distracted would be to create a timetable. This way there is balance with work and play. It is the same for university students. Allocate time to work and time to watch your favourite show on Netflix. Just avoid binging, this is when e self-control is essential.
  • For university students we know you haven’t been able to see your best mates in a while and this can be daunting. When you find that you are in need of social interaction be sure to call up an old friend and catch up on what they have been up to. Remember social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t call and check up on our loved ones.
  • Studying during the lockdown might seem new to parents as well who may have never been exposed to this before. If this is overwhelming ensure that you speak to the educator to understand what are the ways to best handle this with your little one. With university students who are also unfamiliar with learning or studying outside a lecture room keep in touch with your lecturer to see how best you can use this time to study.

The lockdown has definitely taken away what we know as normal and replaced it with a new survival method. We have to learn to adjust to this until the ways we are familiar with are the order of the day again. Until then do not hesitate to ask for help and most importantly keep studying.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | Email: devan@ichaftraining.co.za | Website: ichaftraining.co.za | devan-moonsamy.com

Celebrating Mandela month amid a pandemic

Devan Moonsamy

July has always had a spirit of Ubuntu and sharing. It is the birth month of the father of our nation and it is also referred to as Mandela month. 

In this month we often find big companies, small businesses and organizations coming up with creative campaigns to commemorate the legacy of the late president. It is the month in which all South Africans are encouraged to do their bit and pledge their support in the smallest way. 

Be it helping an organization in need or feeding a group of people, any form of selfless contribution is encouraged. Sadly, this year most projects are on ice as the number of people infected with the coronavirus rises daily. 

As South Africans, the chance of not being able to do something might leave a void. That being said how can we still celebrate a month of selflessness and adhere to the rules and regulations of our current lockdown? 

It is simple. Keep it small. You could provide your help and assistance if possible, to a smaller group of people. 

As a company, look at NGOs that are assisting communities feeling the pinch of the economy following many industries having to embark on retrenchment and liquidation. This has resulted in a number of people without work. If you are able to, run a programme to offer work to these individuals. 

Schools are also always participating in activities during this time, however with the limited number of grades and the major social distancing at school this year activities might not be possible. This doesn’t mean our children don’t have to feel the spirit. 

Get the kids to help put together sanitizing packs and distribute these to those who are less fortunate than us. Alternatively, you could find out which organizations are doing distributions and drop it off to them. 

The spirit of Mandela day should not be lost due to the fact that we are dealing with this pandemic. Use this rather as an opportunity to get the family behind a project to distract ourselves from the daunting numbers and the scary Whatsapp messages that are doing their rounds. 

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | Email: devan@ichaftraining.co.za | Website: ichaftraining.co.za | devan-moonsamy.com

Dealing with the stigma around COVID-19 in the workplace

Devan Moonsamy 

The number of people tested positive for Covid-19 is on the rise with regions seeing a drastic increase in a matter of days. With this we have also seen online stories of people who claim to not be showing any symptoms of the virus but still having their test showing positive. 

Many offices have resumed work but what has been a sore topic is the stigma around the virus. As much as the symptoms to the virus are similar to a flu, people with sinus and usual winter health issues get the ‘glare’ when they cough or sneeze in the office. 

We obviously can’t send every person home with a slight sneeze or cough but what we can do at the office is encourage those who have the flu symptoms to work from home. This not just prevents them from being glared at the office but also safe guards from being exposed to people while sick. 

But this needs to be communicated. Instead of just assuming people are going to realize this send an email highlighting the need to protect your employees. Also ensure that this is communicated not in a manner to put them under the spotlight but to safeguard the spread of bacteria at the work space. 

It seems as though the stigma around the virus is growing. People might be sceptical about associating with someone who has previously tested positive in the work place. We have to realize that people are being tested, treated and recovering from the virus. 

As an owner of an organization implement strict rules about social distancing. Ensure employees have access to sanitizers and that sanitizing of the office is done each afternoon when the employees leave for the end of the day. 

These are but a few things that we should be already be doing if we have staff working from the office. A lot of staff also travel by public transport we should ensure they are not victimized in the workplace. We must understand the virus does not target you based on where you stay and how you travel to work. So do not put on a mask when you see a colleague who uses public transport but take it off when taking to someone who has their own vehicle. 

Right now as an employee of a company just ensure you are sanitizing and wearing your mask whenever you are out of your home. The only way to safeguard you and your family is to take the necessary steps of precaution. But while doing so remember the virus does not select a specific race group, gender or culture. Anyone can get it so always keep your mask on when interacting outside your home. 

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | Email: devan@ichaftraining.co.za | Website: ichaftraining.co.za | devan-moonsamy.com

Please Note: South Africa is going through a challenging time due to the Corona Virus pandemic. Stay informed by visiting: www.sacoronavirus.co.za