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The Responsibility of Employers – Duty of Care

People are returning to offices in South Africa if city traffic volumes are anything to go by. ‘Zoom Fatigue’ has taken its toll and as a consequence, offices, coffee shops, bars and meeting places are filling with employees with laptops charged to do business.

This signals the return either hybrid or in-person meetings, not necessarily large conferencing as yet, but what onus is placed upon employers to ensure duty of care and how should companies be managing the multiple health, safety and liabilities? Norton Rose Fulbright on the 19th of May 2021 published their guide as to the ramifications of reintegrating employees into the workplace, citing that remote working in any gathering, be it in-house meeting facilities or off-site venues pose risks to employees and organisations as does any form of business travel.

According to American Express Global Meetings & Events Forecast 2021, the definition of MICE* includes, but is not limited to internal or external:
– Team Meetings
– Training Sessions
– Product launches
– Senior leadership meetings
– Client and Customer advisory sessions

Many of these meetings and events are already underway, hence an employer’s responsibility goes far beyond social distancing, masks and sanitisers. Risk assessments are naturally key, but duty of care means ensuring that ‘The new norms’ are taken into account by not only meeting & event co-ordinators, but management in every division and at all levels. This potentially poses a barrage of expensive administration, paperwork and valuable employee productivity time. In a recent global survey* 68% reported that confidence in attendee health and safety components were paramount.

As with most, business challenges, eventually executives turn to technology to minimise risk, drive health & safety, educate etc. in the fastest, most practical and logical way. A South African tech company is currently introducing software to tackle these issues within organisations, as well as meeting and event planning, policy management, identifying cost-saving opportunities, online training, objectives and return on investment controls.

For more information, please visit www.micemasterglobal.com

*Source: North American, European, South American and Asian Pacific Surveys by American Express 2020.

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