BAKU, 14 May 2020 – After the Azerbaijani government has relaxed some of its strict quarantine measures on 27 April and in line with the UNCT guidelines for a phased return to the office, the IOM Azerbaijan office reassumes some of the office activities and started to provide the counseling sessions and implementation of the reintegration assistance to returnees. However, organizing a safe return to the office required a new approach. First, a split team system as a compromise between all employees working from home and having all employees back in the office have been adopted, and the second new seating arrangement that provide sufficient distance between the employees, and a third reminder of the personal protective equipment use.
“We are continuously monitoring the latest COVID19 development and follow the recommendation, and in the same time we are trying to create conditions for employees to have safe space to feel right when not everyone gets back to work at the same time,” says Vladimir Gjorgjiev, the Chief of UN IOM Mission in Azerbaijan.
Among additional protective measures taken at the IOM office to ensure a safe return to work by staff members are checking the temperatures of staff and visitors entering the premises, all recommendations and guidance of WHO are placed in prominent places around the workplace, provision of protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitizers, frequent hygiene procedures, etc are used.
Among a few employees who are required to return to work are staff members of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) project who needs to hold in-person meetings with returnees separated through the glass partition.
“During the peak of the pandemic, we temporarily canceled all meetings, but due to the fact that meetings in person are an essential part of our project we gradually started face to face meeting taking every possible measure in line with the WHO recommendations and guidance to protect workers and minimize the direct effects of the coronavirus in the workplace,” says Ilyas Nabiyev, the AVRR focal point of the Mission.
IOM is continuing its efforts to deliver reintegration assistance to returnees – the citizens of Azerbaijan who voluntarily returned to the country of origin under the AVRR projects. IOM Azerbaijan provides its assistance activities for migrants returned from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Latvia. One of the main parts of reintegration assistance besides educational activities, temporary housing, is employment or setting-up income-generating activity, e.g., small business for voluntarily returned migrants.