One year ago, everyone’s world came to a slow halt as the COVID-19 virus swept across the globe. Life as we know it changed, and businesses scrambled to adapt. Any business sector that did not require in-person, direct-to-customer service quickly moved into a remote work experience.
What started out as a temporary fix became a long-term operational shift. As vaccine rollouts offer us a chance to return to normal, here are a few ways to prepare your HR team for the post-pandemic work environment ahead:
The biggest surprise to most operations and entrepreneurs is that working remotely is quite productive. Across the board, teams seem to maintain the same level of productivity at home that they experienced in the office.
Technology played a large part in this successful shift. Online meeting platforms made it possible for multi-person communication that was both reliable and effective. In many ways, this is one unexpected, positive side effect for many businesses.
For the longest time, remote work was thought to be less productive and difficult to institute with accountability across the board. Had a global pandemic not forced the experiment of working remotely, it’s unlikely that businesses would have ever changed their opinion or had the opportunity to see it work for their company.
A Hybrid Future
As natural immunity develops and vaccines become more accessible, many entrepreneurs don’t foresee everyone returning to the office every day. Most businesses are leaving the option of working remotely available and welcoming the idea of a hybrid workforce moving forward.
One benefit to a hybrid workforce is that it eliminates the need for large, expensive office spaces. Fewer in-office employees means many companies could realize substantial overhead savings.
The pandemic has also left a lasting impression on employees in regards to workplace health and safety. Even as we enter a “new normal” and lockdowns are lifted, a majority of workers still express concerns about the cleanliness of office conditions and would much prefer the safety of their bubble at home. For this reason, it’s possible that many employees will still choose to work from home for the majority of the week, only going into the office for short periods of time when necessary.
Shift to Mental Health
There is a downside to the remote work. This could be seen over the last year when leadership and upper management shifted focus from physical workplace health to ensuring good mental health for their workers.
Technology is a miracle of efficiency when it comes to connecting people and businesses all across the world. But the ability to be constantly connected can make it difficult to disconnect from work. You’ll see an increasing push from business leaders and HR teams to encourage a better work life balance even when working remotely.
Whether it’s maintaining expectations for “after-hours” communications or simply learning to time block online meetings more efficiently, HR can be sure that new strategies will emerge to help workers maintain good mental health both inside and outside of the office.
Entrepreneurs Can Connect With Us
If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to navigate this new post-pandemic work environment with other business leaders in your area, consider joining EO Birmingham. You’ll get connected with valuable resources to help you grow both personally and professionally. Learn more about our community by contacting us today.