Many commuters are petrified they will contract the virus while getting to work
Jibon Sheikh, a banker working in Motijheel, Dhaka, is extremely worried about going to his office from Sunday amid growing concern over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
He resides in Mirpur's Pallabi area with his elderly parents. Regular long journeys on public transportation may make him more exposed to contracting the virus.
After remaining closed for more than two months due to Covid-19, offices are reopening on a limited scale from Sunday.
However, widespread panic over the pandemic is working among the officers and employees engaged in different professions.
Brokerage officer Arif Islam travels from Kuril to work in Motijheel. Similarly, Sohail Rahman goes to his office in the capital's Agargaon from Shanir Akhra. As both of them have to ride public buses to get to their offices, they are petrified their commutes will expose them to Covid-19.
Are the offices opening with adequate health measures and abiding by the government's health rules? The Business Standard talked to different professionals who shared their ideas of working in compliance with the health rules.
Ali Reza Iftekhar, managing director of Eastern Bank Limited (EBL), said, "The situation of EBL offices amid Covid-19 will be closely monitored in the first week. Offices will be opened on a limited scale."
"There will be an arrangement of added security for employees to run the offices in compliance with the government health rules. If the situation looks positive in the first week, the next decision will be taken," he said.
Arif Khan, managing director of IDLC Finance, said, "Yes, there is a kind of fear [about Covid-19]. However, the offices will be run in accordance with the government health rules."
He also said the company has 1,400 employees. Of them, 600 are already present at offices. Amid this crisis, the total number of staff have been divided into three sets – each with 200 – for running the offices.
"Set 'A' will come to the office in the first week. Sets 'B' and 'C' will work from their homes – in quarantine for 14 days. Set 'B' will work at the office in the second week, while sets 'A' and 'C' will work from their homes," he explained.
"Thus the staff will come to the office in phases. The company management will arrange transportation for the employees to travel to the office," he added.
Kazi Sanaul Hoq, managing director of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), told The Business Standard, "Adequate safety measures have been taken at the two DSE offices. Efforts are being made to follow the health instructions given by the government."
All necessary measures, including spraying the office building with disinfectant, having officers checked by doctors before they enter the office, making masks compulsory, and arranging for hand sanitiser, etc, have already been taken.
Moreover, DSE member organisations have been instructed to run their offices in compliance with the government health rules. Investors have been urged to conduct transactions through mobile applications and other Internet-based devices without entering brokerage houses as much as possible, he also said.
However, small organisations are still concerned for their safety even though larger ones said they will provide employees in quarantine with an opportunity to work from home.