Transitioning Safely to the Endemic Phase

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on 8 March 2022 that Malaysia would enter the endemic phase of COVID-19 from April 1.

“Endemic” status does not mean zero risk, but this will definitely see the easing of restrictions in the country. Businesses will finally be allowed to operate without time restrictions, and the country’s borders will also finally be reopened. Limits on the number of employees allowed in the workplace based on vaccination rates in a company will also no longer be applicable.  In the coming months, we will see employment agencies in Malaysia get busier as many industries; tourism and hospitality especially, are getting a revival.

However, nearly two years in the pandemic, there are several things that require considerations to ensure that we enter this new stage gradually, thoughtfully and flexibly.

Depending on the sector you are in and the way your organisation functions, these are a few key considerations to look at as we enter the endemic phase:


The increased turnover that many employers are dealing with are not the only concern when it comes to talent. With many starting a new job during the full lockdown and may not have had the chance to see their team members, companies should look into rebuilding company culture and building connections between employees through training and development in and robust Human Resources Management (HRM).


With the transition into the endemic phase, people might be required to travel more, from the daily commutes to and from the office, to activities outside of office hours like company get-togethers and training sessions.


The situation will soon be deemed safe enough for employees to return to in-person work, but the pandemic should never be taken lightly. Companies will need to look into their safety practices to ensure that employees feel safe to come to work.


The transition might also require employers to look into policies and practices that may need to be adapted and improved. Will employees with symptoms be required to stay home and for how long? Will there be an option to increase paid/unpaid sick leave options?

Remote workforce

For companies with remote employees, it is also important to look into the hiring practices and operations. Will some employees be permitted to work remotely and under modified or flexible schedules while others are not? Will the employees who need to come to the office receive special or extra benefits? This, again is where human resources management should come into the picture.

The transition into the endemic phase is an important one, and not something that should be taken lightly. Employers should consider the post pandemic phase as an opportunity to reassess, reenergise, and potentially transform the workplace for the future.
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