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Moroccan Call centers workers fear their packed offices amid coronavirus outbreak

While some call centers companies are studying the possibility of letting their operators work from home, others have implemented the measure to avoid the spread of coronavirus. Call centers workers have voiced their fears, urging their employers to free their packed work places.

DR
Estimated read time: 3'

While the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Morocco is on the rise, several employees are still forced to go to their offices to work.

Call centers workers in Morocco said that they fear for their health amid the coronavirus outbreak, especially while most of the companies operating in the country are still studying the possibility of implementing remote working schemes.

Farah* who works at Casablanca-based call center Majorel said that she fears for her life as she still has to go to work. Speaking to Yabiladi, the operator said that the company she works for «has informed [them] that it is still studying the possibility of sending them home to work remotely».

«They are collecting data for that sake at the moment but no final decision was made so far», she said from her desk. Until further notice, the call center has, however, implemented a series of measures to protect the health of its employees.

«For the moment, the company accepted holiday requests and advised us to leave some space between us and disinfect our desks», Farah said. Despite all the measures, the idea of having to go out and take transportation means to go to work is stressful to Farah and her colleagues.

«Some of my colleagues have to take the bus and others take one to two taxis to get to the office and that is a lot of contact with surfaces that could be infected by the virus», Farah worryingly said.

«We are scared every time we have to go out (…) everyone is stressed to be honest because we all want to stay home and work», she argued.

While Farah had to go to work today, the company she works for announced Thursday that it is planning to «distribute 2,000 computers to its employees» in an attempt to implement a work-from-home scheme. The company said in a press release that the distribution started today and targets «2,000 operators in an attempt to leave enough space between other employees».

Call centers that announced work-from-home schemes

Meanwhile, insurance company AXA responded to the calls of its call center’s employees after they voiced fears about having to work in packed offices amid the outbreak. The company has decided to close the doors of its call center for 14 days. «The measure will be implemented starting from Friday», said Nihad*, an operator at one of AXA’s call centers.

Speaking to Yabiladi, Nihad said that the place «where [she] works has two floors with 50 employees in every floor». «We sit next to each other and there is no safety distance between the operators».

«The canteen, where we eat, has also been closed and we found ourselves during lunch breaks all packed in a small balcony that cannot accomodate everyone», she explained.

«Aside from that decison, no preventive measures have been taken to protect us with regards to hygiene and they did not provide us with gloves and masks, which pushed us to complain about the situation to our employers», she recalled.

However, Nihad said that the company has forced those with chronic illnesses to «stay home and work remotely». «I was so worried that I decided to stop going to work», Nihad concluded.

Meanwhile Zuhair* who works for NCC NewCo communications, another call center, said that he stopped going to work alongside other colleagues, fearing for their safety. «We asked our employers to let us work from home and they responded, saying that they are studying the option».

Indeed, Zuhair said that the company has decided to give computers to its employees to work from home. «We were informed that all computers and technical tools will be given to us, so we can work from home», he concluded.

Waiting for a solution

Nezha* who works for French call center Webhelp said that her company is planning to do the same in the near future. «We are still working but they want to implement remote work in the upcoming days», she said.

For now, mothers and other employees were given a leave and the number of operators has been downsized, Nezha said. «However, we do not know when they will introduce that measure, even if we have already filled out a form regarding this», she explained.

Salim, an employee working for the call center of one of Morocco’s biggest telecommunication companies, told Yabiladi that he is still going to the office every day.

«We work in an open space with 52 operators. Sometimes we reach 75 people in the same space», he argued.

«When we arrive, we have to clean ourselves, each with their means, before starting our shifts. We are afraid for our health and that of our families and those around us», he explained.

«The company said that it is studying the possibility of not coming to the office but they are prioritizing pregnant women and people suffering from chronic illnesses», he concluded.

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