Tackling Covid Like a Boss!
To find out how you go about tackling Covid like a boss, we caught up with Amal Shabib, one of the best-respected Senior Executives of the region’s corporate world. This is an insight into how a top business mind takes a strategic business-like approach to tackle Covid-19 at home.
In a rare interview, Amal, herself a mother and proud young grandmother, answers our questions on how ordinary mothers can quite literally ‘tackle Covid like a boss’, using the strategies that she applies in the corporate world.
What is the main challenge or problem that mothers face in the home as they try to keep it a virus-free environment?
There are obviously several challenges to keeping your home virus-free, but fundamentally I think the biggest challenge for mothers is monitoring all movements in and out of the house. Because of the nature of the virus, and how easily it can spread, mothers need to have their eyes in 10 places at the same time so they are aware of what is being bought into the home from outside. (Not that it was any different before, it’s just with a new dimension this time!)
How can busy modern mothers get control of all these challenges, with the other demands they have from work and family?
I think the best approach to get control of these challenges, is to create a control system and communicate. Creating an easy step-by-step ‘guide’ for your family to follow is crucial. Getting everyone on board is also just as important. It’s the same principle as a business plan – without the key people executing their responsibilities, a plan will only ever be merely ‘great on paper.’ Applying some discipline under these current conditions will make things more controllable, and at times when you are not around, having a proper step-by-step process in place will ensure the safety precautions and measures for your home are followed, because everyone knows what they have to do.
As someone known for applying innovation in business, can you suggest any ways that we can apply some innovation to keeping our homes safe and hygienic?
I will share a few of my tips that play a key role in making my own home virus-free. One of the solutions we use at our house is a home-made shoe disinfecting station. There are solutions out there to disinfect shoes, but some of these can be expensive or fiddly for children to use. So what I have done at home is used a plastic tray, a microfiber mat soaked in some Clorox, diluted in water – and voila, I created my own shoe disinfecting station. I have placed it at the door so that whoever is walking in has to step in it and thoroughly wipe the soles of their shoes in it. They then step onto a dry mat I placed beside it and it ensures that nobody is bringing germs in from their shoes. We can find a number of cost efficient solutions with items that are already in our homes, but doing some research into a problem always pays off, so Google, Pinterest and moms groups are a great source of ideas.
How can parents explain the virus threat to young children – and how do we get the kids to listen?!
What is crucial is education, because once kids understand the problem, they will listen. We all underestimate the agility of children – if you can explain the reason for doing certain things to them, they will be your biggest supporters in anything. I believe the key to educating our children is keeping it simple and not scary, which can be overwhelming for a child. Make sure they know this is something they can do things to fight off, not something that is out of their control.
You can tell young children that there are some bad germs out there called ‘a virus’ that can make people sick, so we want to make sure the virus doesn’t come to hang around the house. Tell them that it is easy to fight the virus, because it does not like cleanliness, it can’t stay in clean places or clean people. So what we need to do is to wash our hands more often, make sure our clothes are not dirty and keep our house clean. And we also need to stay ‘this far away’ away from people outside the house, so we don’t give the virus the chance to jump from one person to another. (You should show them what 2 metres distance looks like, or describe it as the length of a car, or their bed.) Do also tell them that the doctors are finding the medicine to kill the virus so it doesn’t make people sick anymore.
I walked through the importance of washing hands with my grandchild in a fun activity, by placing some water and black pepper in a bowl and then dipping his hand into the water twice – once without soap on it so he could see the black particles on his hand, and then again using the soap. Doing such an interactive activity it made it easy for him to understand why he should use soap every time, because he saw it for himself. But in short, and the same as in business, what is important with our kids is to educate and empower them.
How do you ‘tackle Covid’ like a boss in your own home, Amal?
I think tackling Covid-19 for myself and my family is still a journey – we are learning with every stage of the restrictions being lifted and the re-opening of public places. However, we have established a basic framework and process for family members to carry out, which we broke down into a few steps that are easy to remember:
- Disinfect your shoes in our amazing shoe station, every time you come in the house.
- Always avoid putting your hands on your face for any reason and any time, even if you are just out of the shower. It is a habit that we should always be training ourselves to do – we can all help remind each other.
- For any family member that has been out and brought anything from outside the home, there is a station at the house in the kitchen that they must go directly to. The item(s) from outside are placed there until they are disinfected. The person who went out needs to drop anything they have at this station, and head straight to the bathroom to shower and place their clothes in the laundry bin. (We have a separate procedure for disinfecting these laundry items.)
Our hygiene procedure for delivery items:
- The delivery man has to put the bag on the floor – as no one is allowed to take the delivery hand-to-hand
- Place all items on one particular side of the sink (this is our disinfection station)
- Disinfect all of the items, get rid of any unnecessary packaging. (If we have ordered food, we transfer the food into our own plates)
- Make sure to place all the disinfected products away from where they were original placed
- Throw out all the bags and any packaging immediately
- Disinfect the counter space
Every act that involves contact with the outside environment has and everyone in the house knows the system. Generally this is the framework that we use at home. As we return to our offices and resume a bit of normality, we still need to remember we should protect ourselves in order not to harm others. As mothers, it is in our nature to relate to others about how we protect ourselves and our families, so I would also advise open communication and sharing of ideas.
In the commercial world, I always say remember the 20/80 rule – focus on 20% of the work that will lead to 80% of the results.