While there is currently a significant focus on the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workforce and societal implications are no less profound. With widely-encouraged social distancing, organisations around the world have to learn how to conduct business remotely. Businesses must also find new and innovative ways to carry on the work of employees, keep them engaged and productive.
This new normal, however, might come with some interesting challenges for the human resource team. The new workforce will need new methods in maintaining employee development, learning, and engagement where the role of HR is crucial. Based on HR in Asia’s observation, here are three things HR should immediately update even after COVID-19 ends.
As the coronavirus cases surge uncontrollably, work-from-home (remote work) has become the new normal employers adapt to help contain the spread of COVID-19 infections. While this is a good thing to temporarily move to remote work, many companies cited that they will continue working remotely at least part of the time after businesses reopen.
As reported by VentureBeat, COVID-19 has opened an opportunity to let employees work remotely, even for those that have no previous comparable experiences. Employers have also built policy in place regarding remote jobs, and in some cases, this policy would lead to a permanent remote option.
The report added that most employers already have the technology and communications infrastructure needed to ensure a successful remote work experience. However, there are also companies that struggle in the effort of collaborating closely with remote teams. Many questions come as the challenge is getting bigger, for example as follows:
In the meantime of those questions, HR roles in monitoring and maintaining morale becomes more crucial. It also becomes HR leaders’ homework to create a virtual culture that could engage employees to be more productive. And this will be a huge challenge ahead.
Engagement is the number one issue when it comes to creating an effective virtual experience. This is particularly a huge challenge for small businesses or companies that have never been doing remote work before the coronavirus surges.
According to Korn Ferry research, many organisations are taking interest in going 100 percent virtual. However, the doubt they’re asking is always the same: How do we get individuals’ to participate, engage, and apply what they have within a virtual environment, knowing that working virtually without having in-person meetings is not really effective?
The barriers that come with virtual working are also more challenging than nurturing in-house employees. Engagement levels are less visible when leading a remote team. When dealing with an in-person team, it is easy to tell whether they are engaged in their jobs or not. Employees’ energetic nodding and expressions can be seen clearly. Without these nonverbal cues to draw on, virtual facilitators must be prepared to think and act differently, employing new techniques and technology to keep a constant track of worker’s engagement. In other words, employers need to invest more in virtual technology and virtual engagement benefits that help employees stay afloat with their motivation. And it is one of many HR’s values to keep employees engaged, enthused, and productive.
As remote working becomes more popular and a new strategy to nurture wellness and wellbeing of employees is needed, employers should revisit company’s policy to be aligned with the new work environment. An employer should also keep track of all the new requirements in new laws coming out of congress regarding remote work policy. This will need advanced planning and strategic decisions which rely on the advice and insight that only HR leaders can provide.