I'm very lucky, that my mother and father are still alive. My mother is 82, and is shielding at home, while my father, 88 is in a nursing home.
At my father's nursing home, a NHS (National Health Service) ambulance turned up and vaccinated all the patients and all the staff. Apart from one, nurse, who said they didn't want to be vaccinated.
I put a question out on Facebook last night; "what do people think about the nurse not wanting to be vaccinated?" As you can imagine, there were opinions from "fire them" to "people have a choice and people should not be forced into doing something they don't want to do."
That got me thinking about the world of business.
Will my company ask for me to have a vaccination?
My partner works for a large company, staff have been told not to go to the office unless it is strictly necessary. If you want to go to the office, you have to get a form signed by a VP or higher. The signed form, is then sent to facilities and they send the employees the PPE (personal protection equipment) that they have to wear in the office.
There has been no announcement, yet, on if they are required to have a vaccination before they can go in the office, but a ruling can only be a matter of time.
In fact, any company that has an office, will need to make a ruling. Will they allow unvaccinated staff in the office? Companies will have to rule on what happens if a person refuses to have a vaccination. There is a view that there could become a "have" and "have not" society as certain services are available to people, or they could be restricted. Will your local pub restrict people, for example?
A well known company of plumbers in London, Pimlico Plumbers, run by the celebrity businessman, Charlie Mullins has said that all his staff will be vaccinated. His argument is that if you call out a plumber, as a customer you will want to know that the plumbing company has taken all the procussions so you don't get Covid19.
The articled I've "Passed" from the BBC states that the UK Government has said that that companies cannot enforce existing employees to be vaccinated but they can enforce new employees. The article, quite rightly points out that this has not been tested in the courts ..... yet. The court, could, rule that this is discrimination.
Will I have to have a vaccination to meet customers?
While businesses, first and foremost priority is to protect their staff, what about visitors to your company?
Will companies allow visitors into their offices? Pre-covid, we would walk into reception, ask for the name of the person we want to see and probably show some form of identification (ID).
Will companies actually allow people to "walk off the street" and have meetings?
What will be the requirement in terms of PPE? Will masks, hand washing, gloves or any other form of covering be required?
Will you have to show a certificate to show you have been vaccinated?
Will the customer have to declare if they have been vaccinated?
Would you go to a meeting a customers office if they person declares they have not been vaccinated?
How soon will we go back to face-to-face meetings?
Last week there was a webinar by Gartner, it's well worth watching, while I've asked questions above, they actually make some statement
"the world is not going back to the way it was before, we are going to be selling virtually for a long time”
"We are no longer looking at a bare minimum of virtual selling, it is now a core competency for salespeople today”
"We are see sales leaders shifting headcount to those salespeople that are digital savvy"
As business leaders we have a duty of care to our employees, our salespeople and in fact all of our staff. The complexity that Covid 19 has placed upon us has meant there are challenges that we still haven't worked out.
Last year in October, there was the "we are hoping everything will be OK as soon as we hit 2021" crew. As we have seen, here we are in February and things are not back to normal. I heard recently that there is now a mantra that "things will be back to normal by Easter". Will they, really?
As business leaders, we need to stop hoping and do right by our teams.
Our employees would expect us to plan for the fact that 2021 is going to be like 2020 and they need the skills and the processes to support them in their work. Today.
Not some hope that things might be better some time in the future.
Hope isn't a strategy.
It may be legal for companies to insist on new staff being vaccinated as a condition of their employment, the justice secretary has said. However, Robert Buckland said it was unlikely bosses could make existing workers have vaccines under their current contracts. Downing Street has said it would be "discriminatory" to order people to be vaccinated to keep their job. But some firms say they will not hire new staff who refuse to have the jab. In an interview with ITV on Wednesday, Mr Buckland said compelling new staff to be inoculated could, in theory, be possible if it was written into their contracts. However, employers would probably need to take legal action if existing staff refused such an order, he said.