Very few of us anticipated experiencing a pandemic and a full-scale lockdown during our lifetimes. The last major pandemic that faced the world was more than a century ago, with the Spanish Flu of 1918–1920. More recent “pandemics” declared by the WHO have been milder, lulling most of us into a false sense of security.
There were plenty of lessons available from the flu pandemic. Even though science, technology, and society has evolved since then, there are many similarities between the two pandemics. Nonetheless, most of us weren’t prepared to switch to an almost totally remote environment or needing to shut down for weeks on end.
COVID-19 taught companies and their HR departments the importance of good work-from-home policies. What kind of flexibility do your team members need to be able to work from home and keep the business running?
Remote hiring policies and management policies have also been under scrutiny. The importance of good leave management, including sick days, was another important factor. Mental health has been on HR’s radar. Benefits like business expenses and other could be under consideration.
What Did COVID-19 Teach Companies?
The biggest lesson for companies during COVID-19 has been about flexibility. You need a flexible plan that enables you to roll back and forth between almost total shutdown and various stages of “reopening.”
Supporting employees and communities has been another theme that emerged. To that end, employers have thought not only about compensation packages but benefits and flexible work schedules too. Most often, those tasks have fallen to the HR department to design and implement.
Are There Any Silver Linings?
Many companies have learned the importance of flexibility and of putting their team members first. A flexible work schedule gives more work-life balance, and it helps your team support their mental health. That’s key to productivity. Better benefits and more support also help your team do the best work possible.
The challenges have also pushed forward remote work and online operations, which some employers were slowly moving towards anyway.
The pandemic also highlighted the importance of having both emergency funds and disaster plans. This kind of forward-thinking will help employers weather future challenges, whether they come from the continuing pandemic or some other future risks.
What Does the Future Look Like?
As vaccination continues and economies look to reopen, employers like you are wondering about the future. Reopening will be staged, much like it was last year, and it might need to be halted if a third wave occurs. It may feel like we’re moving “two steps forward, one step back” at times.
We’re likely to see employers rethink their commitment to office spaces and retail locations. Some jobs could remain remote, and HR will need to continue managing a remote or hybrid workforce. Flexibility will remain a keyword as businesses and employees alike adjust to a third wave and post-pandemic future.
Having the right technology at hand will be a key factor for most employers. Whether you need to manage a remote team or track leaves, a human resources information system could be the best investment you’ll make for the post-pandemic world. Discover the features of an HRIS and what it can do for your business now!