If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all human beings who still need to socialise and feel part of something greater than ourselves. It is inspiring to see how the world’s population has come together in support of our local and global communities.
For employers, this has set apart those businesses that have a true balance between the operational, legal, financial and ethical challenges. It will also show how ready businesses are for the opportunities a ‘new normal’ will bring post COVID-19.
During the pandemic, people have been isolated giving rise to concerns about their health and that of their loved ones. Moreover, with the uncertainty of the global economy, as well as financial and job security, businesses must find a true balance when making difficult decisions, handling these situations with genuine honesty, empathy, and respect. How businesses handle these will be remembered by their people and it is an opportunity for businesses to earn the trust of their employees even when facing adversity.
Taking a genuine interest in staff wellbeing will go a long way, now and post COVID-19. This can include small steps such as regular line manager check-ins, welfare conversations, advice on self-care, or ensuring regular breaks.
Some larger businesses may have Mental Health First Aiders, an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), or access to an Occupational Health Practitioner. However, there are free services such as Able Futures and resources from groups such as Mind which can also help with proactive care and advice on wellbeing to help reduce or prevent future issues and absences.
COVID-19 has been a fast-track way for businesses to trial new flexible and homeworking practices, with many finding innovative ways for collaboration and communication, making use of the latest technology to replace the face to face human contact we all have come to miss.
Flexible working and homeworking are not new concepts, however, businesses have had to adapt quickly, alongside employees who may have found themselves caring for children and relatives whilst maintaining their employment commitments, some outside of the typical 9 to 5 working day.
Flexible working has since proved to be a great way to maintain and retain an agile workforce. Allowing employees to sustain a work-life-balance whilst becoming more productive during their working hours, will ensure businesses keep hold of key talent and key roles during and post COVID-19.
Back to the ‘New Normal’
Going back to the ‘new normal’ will be a challenge for some businesses. It could mean a smaller or larger workforce, changes to how work is conducted and where work is carried out. There is also the potential of business growth and talent acquisition within the global market which has been enhanced by our ability to evolve and adopt new ways of working during COVID-19.
Businesses must start to consider their people strategy now. They must consider their leadership teams and reflect on their management through the crisis, using these insights as a catalyst to review leadership, recruitment and working practices.
Employers have shown their resilience and ability to adapt to the quickly changing circumstances, whilst remaining connected, supportive and collaborative. They must now keep up this momentum and use this experience to foster and improve processes and practices to develop an agile, supported and trusting workforce for the future.
Post COVID-19 planning
To read more insights and our full guide on preparing for post COVID-19, click here.