Recently, I was hired at a veterinary clinic and I started working around 20 hours a week. Because of the very real coronavirus pandemic, things have changed at the veterinary clinic. Encounters with clients have been shortened to be as minimal contact as possible and masks are required for everyone. I have noticed several things caused by corona in a workplace environment. First, people do not take safety precautions seriously, even though corona is still a huge threat and can spread very quickly. For example, many people simply forget to wear a mask or sometimes even refuse. Others do not keep the proper distance between themselves and others. Not adhering to these safety guidelines put staff and other clients at risk and creates an unsafe work environment. Similarly, people behave as though there is no pandemic and continue to act as they did before it, almost pretending as if it does not exist, which is so harmful.
Working a job during a pandemic can also be stressful for the opposite reason; there are people who take the virus seriously and do not want to spend any extra time for any reason. They become aggravated, aggressive, and restless when told that they may have to wait a little bit longer for whatever they came for. These aggressive, impatient behaviors add to the tension already experienced by employees while trying to work and adhere to all safety precautions.
Whenever you go out and interact with employees during this time I urge you to ask yourself a few important questions and act accordingly because many employees right now, especially in essential services, are risking their livelihood to serve you and make a living. Am I being polite and as helpful as possible to allow the employee to do their job? Am I adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask? Am I treating coronavirus like the very real threat it is?