Firms ready for next virus wave

COMPANIES in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region have “emergency plans” in place should a second Covid-19 wave hit these countries, according to a new study.

Seventy per cent of the survey respondents said their companies were flexible about employees working from home.

The study – Human Resources (HR) during Covid-19 pandemic in the MENA poll – was conducted by a leading job portal in the region between June 9 and July 24 and covered a sample of 2,862 respondents, including from Bahrain.

“Data from the survey helped to shed light on the decisions organisations took in times of Covid-19 and provided important knowledge for the future,” stated the survey.

Fifty per cent of respondents said their company had an emergency plan should a new surge in Covid-19 cases occur and 75pc said their HR department had a clear strategy to keep up with expected changes in the business world after Covid-19.

The survey aimed to better understand the health crisis and how HR practitioners were managing organisational responses.

The findings reveal that remote work, reduction in work hours and a change in recruitment policies were examples of measures adopted by companies in the last few months.

“In fact, seven out of 10 survey respondents said their companies were flexible about working from home, instead of returning to the workplace in the next few months,” stated the survey.

According to the respondents, main responsibilities of the HR department during a crisis were: Ensuring safety and security of the physical workspace (40pc), securing alternative work arrangements such as remote work and flexible hours (35pc), managing emergency response at all levels (11pc), facilitating communication between teams and managers (8pc) and advocating for employees’ wellbeing (4pc).

Seventy per cent of respondents agreed that the HR department in their company was doing a good job in sharing updates on business performance during the pandemic.


More than 42pc rated the performance of their HR department as excellent, 22pc rated it as good and 12pc as average.

Furthermore, in the Mena region, 33pc of respondents said the HR department in their company conducted a survey or asked for employees’ opinion on returning to the workplace after the pandemic.

“More than half (51pc) said that their company provided them with clear guidelines for safety and health in the workplace after Covid-19 to a great extent, and 23pc said their company guided them to a certain extent.

“Some Mena companies are going the extra mile, with 65pc respondents saying that their HR department was doing a good job in dealing with employees’ non-work related stress, such as commuting and securing childcare.”

Respondents also revealed key areas of improvement that could be addressed by the HR department during the crisis.

They covered areas such as training and development (27pc), communication with employees (19pc), staff morale and wellbeing (18pc), attendance policy (17pc) and handling complaints and staff problems (14pc).

“Our new poll aims to explore how the Mena region’s HR departments radically transformed practices to deal with the dynamic operating environment that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said human resources director Ola Haddad.



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