How Post-Pandemic Phase Will Re-define HR Work?
Although we are nowhere near the end of the pandemic, yet we are moving in a positive direction, or at least that’s what most of us think after receiving news on CoVID vaccinations. But ‘when will we return to normalcy?’ is a question that still can not be answered. However, one thing is for sure that workplaces will not be the same. Post-pandemic workplaces will be entirely different from the pre-pandemic ones.
Employers would be pushed to reexamine their employee policies, organizational setup, and operating procedures. And HRs would be the harbingers of this change. In this blog, we look at some of the changes that HRs would likely experience while preparing for the post-pandemic times or while planning the return to work.
1. More and More Remote Work
Pandemic left us with no alternative but to adopt the remote work setup. But companies are now planning to continue this setup even after the pandemic subsides. However, there’s one catch. This time the selection is out of choice rather than compulsion.
Financial savings is the biggest factor driving this selection. Due to the reduction in on-site operating costs including real-estate rent, operating expenses, office meals, and travel expenses, companies are increasingly leaning towards the remote work option. In a survey conducted, Gartner found that 74% of companies preferred to move their previously on-site employees to remote positions permanently post-pandemic.
Moreover, ensuring social distancing in the confined space of office will also be a challenge for many organizations.
Apart from organizations, even employees benefit from the remote setup. Flexjob survey found that employees save as much as $4000 a year after going remote.
2. Focus on Wellness Programs
CoVID-19 has not been easy on people, especially in terms of health. Be it physical or mental, people were widely impacted by the pandemic. Locked down in homes, living in fear, working remotely, juggling between thin lines of work and home and whatnot.
Pandemic brought a lot of unprecedented changes along with it that no one imagined. And the prominent amongst all was the increased focus on health.
As the pandemic is nowhere near the end, companies are doing everything in stride to protect their employees. Research found that 62 percent of employers feel extremely responsible for their employees’ wellness up from 13% in 2013. Due to this, companies are pushing HRs to dive deeper into healthcare and lookout for ways to empower employees’ physical as well as mental health. For example,
- Associate with fitness apps so that employees can exercise from home
- Provide online counseling for mental health, financial distress, relationship difficulties, and so on.
- Conduct virtual ergonomics session
- Organize fitness challenges
- Encourage employees to take breaks
- Provide reimbursements on full-body check-ups or antibodies check-up
- If covid vaccination arrives, provide the right information and access to these
3. Amend Sick Leave Policies
To sustain the pandemic and support the employees, many companies re-evaluated their sick-leave policies. Unlike ever before, they encouraged employees to stay at home. Most companies asked employees to take leave or work from home if they experienced any flu-like symptoms. But the point is all these changes aren’t temporary.
Most employers would likely continue this stance till the pandemic is far behind us. Which is not happening any time soon. Countries are now grappling with new mutations of CoVID which has made the pandemic-free world a far fetched idea. Therefore, HRs would continue to adjust and amend sick leave policies in the future as well.
4. Rethink Workplace Setups
Without a second guess, we know offices won’t look the same post-pandemic. Socially distanced desks, masked peers, lunching slots, meeting spaces with video conferencing technology, and much more.
Besides, as CoVID social distancing norms ask companies to increase their floor space, many companies will be reassessing the need for the physical space. Due to which a lot of the companies would be asking employees to continue the remote work, come in multiple shifts or work on alternate days. HRs would be required to perform a series of assessments to identify teams or workers who can work remotely without affecting their effectiveness.
5. Policies for Gig Workers
During the pandemic, many industries relied on the gig economy for support staff. It was embraced like never before. The economic instability, CoVID’s grave situation, and sudden demand for a few essentials were the driving factors behind the gig worker surge. After the healthcare sector, online delivery agents had the biggest slice of the pie. In white-collar gig jobs, content marketers, designers experienced a rise in demand.
Post-CoVID times will continue to experience this surge, as gig workers prove to be a promising option. If it continues to grow, HRs would be required to allocate resources to manage the gig workforce. Not only that, but they would also amend or introduce new gig workforce policies to embrace the gig workforce better. This increased reliance on the gig economy has empowered the gig industry to demand a socially secure setup that gives them some employment security under employment laws, without losing the flexible nature of the arrangement.
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