Coronavirus has presented entirely new challenges to workplaces around the world. HR departments have a crucial role to play in meeting these challenges. But what does this really mean in practice?
Invest in Remote Work
2020 has been a year of unprecedented experimentation in remote work. Many workers might have found that they’re able to do their jobs much more effectively from home. Less time spend commuting, the ability to take breaks at leisure, and a work environment that’s entirely within the control of the individual: all of these things are potential boons.
But not everyone has gotten on as well with remote working. Anything that the HR department can do to address complaints and limit the gap in productivity between the home and the workplace, therefore, is sure to be welcome.
Often, the restrictions are technological. The remote workers lacks the means to perform their job at home, because they don’t have access to the same equipment that they do at work. What’s more, even when the equipment is made available, workers might lack the training to make the transition.
By investing in formal training, workplaces can ensure that their staff are able to perform their duties competently, rather than simply muddling through. It’s likely that the coronavirus and its lasting effects will be with us for awhile yet, and that remote work will become a permanent fixture in the economy of the future. Thus, the investment is likely to pay off substantially in the long term.
Similarly, skilled workers might need to be brought in from afar. Doing this in a post-covid world might require considerable specialist legal expertise, from a firm like Withers.
Invest in Workers
Workers are increasingly concerned about their wellbeing, and so too should employers be. A worker who feels that their safety is not being taken seriously is likely to become quickly demotivated and disillusioned. These effects can be contagious, and highly corrosive of worker morale.
Of course, this doesn’t just mean providing social distancing measure, improved workplace hygiene, and mandating facemasks. It also means caring for the mental health of workers. This means managing workload, ensuring workers are able to get adequate sleep, and providing a balance between work-life and home-life.
Office life can play an important social function which is denied to those working remotely, and the sense of isolation can be profound. Encouraging workers to speak up about their experience can help you to tweak things to maximise happiness and productivity.
Worker wellbeing may come to be viewed as fundamental to the success of the business, and something that highly-skilled candidates look for when applying for new positions.
Redefine the Business
This crisis also represents an opportunity. It has already accelerated the progress of many businesses into the digital domain, and made entirely new kinds of venture viable. The aforementioned spread of remote work is just one symptom of the way in which the progress of the fourth industrial revolution has been hastened. Many workers have already used the lockdown experience to look back on older methods and wonder what the sense in them ever was. If you have long-term changes to your business planned, then now might well be the time to make them!