As countries around the world strived to save lives by slowing the transmission of Coronavirus, they had to take dramatic steps, with significant consequences for economic growth. According to the Office of National Statistics, between 6th and 19th April 2020, 23% of companies had temporarily closed or ceased trading, with about 60% of businesses continuing to trade showing sales decreases.
In addition, the study also claimed that about 7.6 million workers were at risk during the lockdown in the United Kingdom—a word that we use to include permanent layoffs, involuntary furloughs, and decreases in hours and wages. The risks are rather skewed: individuals and areas with the lowest wages are the most vulnerable to work cuts. About 50% of the jobs that provide £10 per hour are at a risk.
However, now that people are learning to live in the ‘new normal’ and remote working, it’s time for the world to get ready for the post-pandemic workplace. With the emergence of new technologies and work from home gaining prominence, the workplace is surely not the same as we left it in the beginning of 2020. To ensure you’re able to attract the best talent to cater to your customers, you should consider collaborating with a market research agency that can help you determine the changes you need to keep up with the latest trends.
In addition, we have also compiled a list of different trends that are must-haves for every organisation that is looking to accelerate their business in the post-pandemic workplace.
The Rise of Remote Working
According to a study by Gartner, post COVID-19, 48% of workers are expected to operate remotely for at least half of their working hours, compared to 30% before the pandemic. As companies transition to allowing more work being done remotely, it’s imperative to explore essential skills workers would need to operate together remotely and adopt various strategies that enhance employee experience. Companies need to identify how and when they are going to conduct performance goal-setting and reviews for the employees in the remote setup.
The Use of Data Collection
Gartner’s study reveals that 16% of employers use various modern and advanced technology more often to monitor their workers. This includes carrying out activities like conducting clocking in and out virtually, tracking the work done on work computers and even tracking and monitoring internal communications and chats conducted by employees. While some organisations use these activities to track productivity, others are looking to analyse employee engagement and well-being with an aim to provide an enhanced employee experience.
Even before the pandemic, companies were increasingly utilising non-traditional employee tracking methods, but this trend would be intensified by modern monitoring of remote employees and the collection of employee health and safety data. It’s imperative to make sure that best practices are being followed to ensure that employee data and analytics are used responsibly.
The Demand For Wearable Technology
It’s no secret that our phones are monitoring every move we make. Not only do they count the steps we take and give us a summary of our fitness, but they are also able to highlight our current location for social media posts. This technology has been embraced by companies to track employee activity. Place monitoring reveals how many workers work in the workplace versus at remote locations. These wearables are also used to monitor working time. Many companies have wearable devices as part of compensation packages and provide wellness programmes incentives or gifts to workers who achieve the weekly company objectives.
Hiring Contingent Workers
Due to the economic and financial instability, many workers have lost their jobs and have to make use of non-standard work models. Initially, companies responded to this challenge by making cuts in their budgets, but things have changed recently.
According to Gartner, companies will continue to increase contingent staff as they provide a higher level of flexibility in the workforce management, which is highly essential after COVID-19.
The Growth of Employee Financial and Mental Wellness
Benefit packages are being upgraded to include financial and mental health checks. Stress about finances has an imminent impact on efficiency, so businesses are hiring experts to assist with financial planning and retirement. In addition, compensation for mental health and psychiatric care is becoming the norm. In fact, companies are even investing in workplace meditation rooms that can improve efficiency. Employees are advised to take “mental health” days to refresh and resolve personal problems that have a detrimental effect on their job.
Extended Role of the Employer
The pandemic has increased the propensity of employers to play an increased role in the economical, physical and mental well-being of their employees. Help includes extended sick leave, financial aid, modified hours of service and availability of child care. Some groups have assisted the community by, for example, moving operations to manufacture products or providing resources to help fight the pandemic and providing community relief and free community services.
The ongoing economic crisis has also tested the boundaries of how companies view the experience of workers. Private considerations, rather than external factors, take priority over what matters to both companies and workers. The use of such initiatives can be a successful way of encouraging physical health and enhancing the mental well-being of employees.
The Need For Flexible Working Hours
The days of the 9-to-5 schedules are diminishing. Employees want the flexibility to deal with their personal problems on a day of work, whether it’s getting a health checkup or attending to a sick child. Ernst & Young states that 76% of workers find it difficult to balance their personal, family and job responsibilities. Some businesses are now offering the option of telecommuting, working odd hours, or the ability to operate remotely. This versatility not only helps employees but also increases employee loyalty and motivation.
Humanization of Employees
Although some organisations have acknowledged the humanitarian crisis of the pandemic and have given priority to the well-being of employees as people over employees as staff, others have forced employees to work in conditions that are high risk with little support—to treat them as workers first and people second.
Be definite about the path you take and understand that impact this decision will have on your employees as it is bound to be long-lasting. Fix inequities where remote and on-site workers have been handled differently. Try to employ workers that promote team culture and inclusivity.
The Rise of Freelancing
The quest for work-life balance is crucial for self-employed employees, as they can create flexible plans and take how much ever work they want. Although wages continue to flatline, the gig economy is how employees carry extra income when money is tight or if they need to make large payments or pay their debt. Many businesses often use freelancers for long-term projects in a ‘permalance’ role, which enables them to recruit for a particular period of time without having to board and train employees that work full-time.
Regardless of what lies ahead in the future workplace, companies need to constantly expand their opportunities by creating a workplace that encourages employees to increase their expertise and adjust their skills to address new challenges.
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