Covid-19: How workers can cope in the crisis

Friday March 27 2020

As more people stay in self-isolation

As more people stay in self-isolation businesses such as this restaurant remain empty and have to lay off staff. Find ways to make up for lost income from your regular job. NET PHOTO 

By ESTHER OLUKA

About two weeks back, Peace Akello received a notification from her boss, stating that her services were no longer needed at the hotel where she worked. The 28-year old worked as a room attendant with fundamental responsibilities of cleaning and arranging guest rooms. She was laid off with four other workers.

“The boss in his explanation told us that the hotel was not making any profits, rather, it was registering losses because it was hardly receiving any guests due to the coronavirus outbreak, Akello says, adding, “And, for this reason, the hotel had to cut some costs including laying off a few employees.”

Akello is not the only worker whose occupation has been affected by the pandemic. There are many other people out there who are losing jobs as a result of the ongoing crisis.

And even for others who still have jobs, their earnings have been affected. Examples include the musicians, comedians, bar owners, among other sections of workers.

Try other options

After ilosing her job as a hotel room attendant, Akello refused to resign to fate by just sitting home. Instead, she began thinking of possible solutions to the problem.

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“Since I have incredible washing skills, I decided to move around neighbourhoods asking people to let me wash their clothes at a fee,” Akello says, “I am happy to say that I got some clients.”

Akello charges between Shs5,000 to Shs20,000. The amount depends on the amount of laundry she is washing. For now, Akello says this “washing clothes business” is helping her cope in the crisis.

Be creative
Such difficult times require people to be more creative than before in order to make ends meet. One bar owner in Mukono District who prefers anonymity says since bars are not allowed to open, he has opted to delivering beer, wine and soda to people’s homes.
“I have a list of my committed clients for whom I make deliveries. I distribute the drinks and they take them within the confinements of their homes,” he says.

He makes these deliveries while still observing the required hygiene precautions.

“I wear my mask, gloves and carry a sanitiser while making these distributions,” he says.

The father of two says he had to think outside the box because he has a family to provide for. He cannot just sit around as the bars remain closed. “How would I then put food on the table?” He wonders.

Like the bar owner, Clare Barungi, a baker has also resorted to mostly doing home deliveries as a way of ensuring her business stays afloat amidst the crisis.

Go digital
Even as respective businesses continue to struggle during the crisis, do not ignore the power of social media.
“Continue advertising your business on different social media platforms. You never know which client may get interested in your service even in these very difficult times,” says Barungi, the baker.

Besides making home deliveries, she continues to advertise her business on different social media platforms and clients are continuing to reach out to her.

Take good care of yourself
The ongoing pandemic is bound to take a toll on some people physically, emotionally and mentally. On social media for instance, people are posting saying the ongoing crisis has left them feeling anxious and depressed. And it is for such reasons it is important to take care of yourself while going about your job.
Exercise, eat the right foods and avoid negative energy even if it means staying away from social media for a while.

eoluka@ug.nationmedia.com

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