Return-To-Office Strategy

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the biggest business challenges of our time. Tens of thousands of workers have been furloughed or displaced. Many businesses are aiming for the beginning of 2021 to transition all workers back to the office, but some larger enterprises have pushed this date back to summer 2021. While nearly half of employees worked completely from home in April and May, this has been reduced to 33% of employees as of October according to a Gallup poll. Transitioning these employees is made more difficult by the finding that 73% of employees fear returning to the workplace due to health concerns for themselves and their families. However, in the same study, it was found that 94% of employees would like to return to the office at least part-time. Many employers feel that the hybrid approach of mixing remote work and office work is the best solution.

What is the best approach to transitioning employees back to the office?

The most important aspect of transitioning back to the office is the health and safety of employees. Returning employees must feel safe and supported to be productive and engaged. The challenge of keeping people safe requires companies to develop protocols for deep cleaning and sanitization as well as changes to office layouts for social distancing. Changes in schedules can also minimize the number of employees in the office at any given time. Additionally, companies should create or revisit policies and procedures on personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks. Key personnel must also be trained on all new procedures with COVID-19 captains recommended to increase accountability for workplace safety.

Enhancing remote working capabilities will not only make employees more productive, but also ease employee health concerns. For some positions, remote work may become a permanent solution. It is estimated that up to 19% of employees will not return to the office in the post-pandemic world. To maximize the effectiveness of remote work, update remote work policies, invest in collaboration and communication tools, and pay attention to employee feedback and cultural signals. Providing employees with the chance to make their challenges and concerns known may help management teams identify potential problems with their return-to-workplace plans.

What can HR do to prepare and facilitate a return to the office?

It is important for HR to work with management to determine which positions are most critical to return first based on their impact to productivity. Most companies are phasing non-essential employees back in with A/B groups. HR must ensure that proper protocols are in place for health screening as employees return. Expectations and clear timelines should be communicated consistently and clearly. HR must lead with flexibility realizing that employees may need time to acclimate to new working conditions and procedures. Re-acclimating an onsite workforce will likely require a major change management initiative. Lastly, HR should also work with management to devise a Re-Exit Strategy due to certain triggers such as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the office or even potential reclosure of facilities.

The amount of change generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the business world and creates major challenges for HR and management teams. See how much you know about change management by answering the following question. You will find the answer in our upcoming newsletter.

Which of the following statements is not true about change management?

  1. Change management plans should be formulaic.
  2. Change management requires the current culture to unfreeze.
  3. Change management can be developmental, transitional, or transformational.
  4. Change management may require an intervention.

Sources:

Bannan, Karen J., October 23, 2020, How to Create a Return-to-Office Strategy, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/work-from-home-is-here-to-stay.aspx

Gartner, 2020, An Executive’s Guide to Returning to the Workplace, https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/insights/gartner_return_to_workplace_guide.pdf

PWC, 2020, Returning to the workplace after COVID-19: What boards should be thinking about, https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/governance-insights-center/library/covid-19-returning-workplace-boards.html

 

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In April 2020, 23 million workers lost their jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During April, the unemployment rate peaked at an unprecedented level of 14.7% (in the last 80 years) before declining to a still-elevated level of 6.9% in October. Due to the large amount of uncertainty in the economy, it is estimated that high unemployment will persist in the next few years, despite the significant gains seen in employment since April.

Human Resources professionals can help laid off workers by providing a prepared list of resources such as unemployment compensation, eviction protection, credit card debt and loans. Compassion and empathy can also go a long way to ease the difficult transition for employees. Employers may face rising tax rates for unemployment compensation during this period as their rates are determined partially by how many employees are claiming unemployment benefits.

In this blog we posed the following question, do you know what the answer is? Read on to test your knowledge and see if you know the correct answer:

Which of the following is not true about unemployment compensation?

a) It was established as part of the Social Security Act of 1935.

b) Employees are eligible for unemployment compensation from their first day of hire.
c) Employees terminated for misconduct are not eligible for unemployment.

d) Fraud is a serious problem for unemployment insurance programs.

Why Hire Veterans?

In April 2020, 23 million workers lost their jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During April, the unemployment rate peaked at an unprecedented level of 14.7% (in the last 80 years) before declining to a still-elevated level of 6.9% in October. Due to the large amount of uncertainty in the economy, it is estimated that high unemployment will persist in the next few years, despite the significant gains seen in employment since April.

Human Resources professionals can help laid off workers by providing a prepared list of resources such as unemployment compensation, eviction protection, credit card debt and loans. Compassion and empathy can also go a long way to ease the difficult transition for employees. Employers may face rising tax rates for unemployment compensation during this period as their rates are determined partially by how many employees are claiming unemployment benefits.

In this blog we posed the following question, do you know what the answer is? Read on to test your knowledge and see if you know the correct answer:

Which of the following is not true about unemployment compensation?

a) It was established as part of the Social Security Act of 1935.

b) Employees are eligible for unemployment compensation from their first day of hire.
c) Employees terminated for misconduct are not eligible for unemployment.

d) Fraud is a serious problem for unemployment insurance programs.

Virtual HR Tools

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the way we do business today. The massive shift to remote, online work has forced companies to utilize virtual tools at an unprecedented rate. While many companies were already trending to work-at-home opportunities as a perk for employees, the use and demand for virtual technologies has never been higher.

Virtual HR refers to a range of technologies that connect employees directly with HR systems to provide self-service options and assist the HR department with automation of daily tasks such as information dissemination, payroll, administration, and much more. Below is a list of Virtual HR tools to check out.

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  • Any Perk – Rewards and perks for employees
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  • SuitHR – HR platform for a variety of needs including communication and training
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These are just a few of the many Virtual HR tools available on the market today. To see how much you know about Virtual HR technology, see if you can answer the question below. The correct answer will be revealed in our upcoming newsletter.

Which of the following statements about Virtual HR is false?

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  3. Job seekers find online application processes both simple and smooth
  4. HR professionals believe that HR technologies enhance employee engagement

The correct answer is c) Job seekers find online application processes both simple and smooth. To learn more about Virtual HR, talk to a professional at HRTrainingclasses.com today!

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