As the curve continues to flatten in Pakistan the Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department has allowed for industries in Punjab to work around the clock—7 days a week, 24 hours a day. In light of the economic strife faced by business from all sectors, it is imperative for regulations—concerning Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and worker conditions—to be stringent so that exploitation and virus transmission can be kept in check.

There is no denying that there existed a need to revive the economy after months of complete shutdown. As such, reopening all corporations and resuming regular working hours makes sense in the short term as it would provide immediate relief to all stakeholders involved; the economy, government, industries and employees. However, the long-term efficacy of such a reform is questionable.

The government is set on shutting down any industry that fails to adhere to the devised SOPs. However, it is important to note that there will be a serious lack of regulatory checks due to the fact that they are tedious and time-consuming in nature. In the time of a pandemic, lax protocols, leading to regression, could be the mistake we cannot afford to make.

Another aspect to consider is the protection of worker rights. If businesses are not scrutinised, the wellbeing of employees could be threatened. Poor sanitary conditions, extended working hours and excessive burdens are just a few of the problems that would go unaddressed especially considering how weak labour unions have become. Thus, it is important for authorities to become the voice of the workforce.

Already, there are countless white-collar industries that have embraced the new way of life and altered their office environment as well as what it means to be a good employee in the status quo. Following suit, all industries should take extra precaution to assure workers of their safety. Additionally, incorporating shifts and setting attainable goals should be prioritised so that employees are not overworked.