Although the coronavirus pandemic has already been ongoing for most of 2020 and doesn’t look like it’s going to be less of a threat anytime soon, it is still temporary. Eventually, the risk will fade, a vaccine will be developed, and things will return to normal. However, what is normal may very well be very different after the pandemic has passed.
Some of the changes made to accommodate the pandemic may end up being permanent. But what exactly could these changes be? How could HR be permanently affected by a temporary pandemic?
More Employees Working Remotely
The onset of COVID-19 resulted in more companies than ever before not just offering remote work but requiring it. While some companies did offer remote work as a perk, many didn’t, preferring to keep employees in the office. However, now that any company that can has implemented the technology and infrastructure to handle employees working remotely, more people will continue to work remotely even after the pandemic is over.
This is good news for many employees. There are many who can benefit from working remotely, including those who have a disability, those who need flexible scheduling, those with long commute times, and more. It’s also good news for companies. The more staff can work remotely, the lower the office overhead costs may be.
What Does This Mean for HR?
While for some HR professionals, managing remote workers is nothing new, some companies will have to implement new rules and processes. It’s important to develop rules for remote work as soon as possible. Formal processes for handling remote work will help ensure that the company continues to run smoothly while the pandemic is still going on.
These rules for remote work will have been tested and adjusted as necessary during the pandemic. Once the coronavirus pandemic is over, they can remain in place for anyone who continues to work from home.
Challenges Keeping Employees Engaged
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing a lot of companies’ ability to respond to emergencies. Companies that didn’t previously have any infrastructure set up for remote work had to implement the technology in a hurry. In a pandemic that threatens the lives and health of employees as well as their livelihoods, it’s important for companies to show that they care about their employees.
Employees are more engaged when they feel that their company cares for their wellbeing. If a company’s response to the pandemic made employees feel expendable or that they didn’t matter to the company, they’ll feel less engaged and, as a result, be less productive. The pandemic is a difficult time for everyone and some companies were required to make staffing cuts because of a loss of revenue.
It may be difficult, but it’s important to show your employees that the company cares. Maintaining a reputation for caring for your staff will help keep current employees engaged, but also help for future recruiting and for retention.
Recruiting Will Also Be Remote
Rather than conducting in-person interviews, the entire recruitment process will likely continue to be remote. Job searching and applying are already done online. Digital technology enables video conferencing for interviews from anywhere. With remote work forecast to continue after the end of the pandemic, it benefits companies to continue recruiting remotely as well.
Especially if the position you’re looking to fill can be done remotely, remote interviews will allow companies to hire from almost anywhere rather than only locally.