With the settling down of social distancing and the beginning of the reopening of facilities and services, all businesses face another unique circumstance. The reopening of business requires a lot of human resources; people almost have to return to the workplace. This return to work creates challenges for both the company and its employees. Most companies will face backlogs and increased workloads after the covid 19 crisis. Using “pre-covid” mindset in the new normal, all managers deal with this situation with very tough regulations and deadlines. Therefore, innovating and thinking differently is necessary to find an appropriate answer for the post-covid circumstances.
There are 4 challenges in managing the workforce facing the managers, especially people in Human Resources Management, when their roles will be fundamentally changed to adapt to the new normal phenomenon.
- There is not enough workforce for the upcoming workload.
Due to increased workload and the employee absences related to covid 19, which cannot be predicted, there are not enough staff to perform all required duties. Therefore, employees may be unexpectedly absent from essential positions. Potential solutions will aim to have enough staff to handle all requests and provide uninterrupted service.
- Eliminate health risks in the workplace
The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in damaging health effects on the workforce. One of the most significant challenges is figuring out ways to monitor and maintain proper protocols to ensure staff are always safe and deliver their best performance.
- Losing motivation and increase in employees’ anxiety and depression
During the weeks or months of unscheduled remote work and special working conditions, many employees have experienced varying degrees of stress and anxiety. Some of them are now afraid of going to work; another is afraid of the increased workload. Many employees are affected by irresponsible attitudes or lack of direct communication, causing disorientation and low morale. Without timely support, one may be at risk of losing their job for underperfomance. The goal achieved by potential solutions is to ensure employees’ health both physically and mentally, thereby improving working capacity.
- Managing remote workers in day-to-day operations
The hybrid working model is becoming a norm in the workplace. Some people prefer to continue working from home and demand to get it normalized. It almost comes from the desire to have a better work-life balance, to be more productive, or the fact that they are located far from work. Forcing them to return to the office is hardly a sustainable choice.
Now, let’s take a look at various ways to managing human resources according to the 4 big questions generated from the abovemented issues.
1. How to deal with increased workload due to unresolved tasks and new priorities
- Encourage the employee to work overtime of their own free will with incentives such as having a financial reward.
- Promote flexible working hours, in which employees allow to choose which is the best time window for them to get their work done based on the types of job. This can also be done by postponing the summer holiday and moving it to the winter. Using annual working hours is another choice where each employee must work a fixed number of hours during the year; working hours can fluctuate from week to week.
- Request help from other departments whose job is less affected or less aggregated due to Covid 19. This means we re-locate routine and easy tasks to units with less workload.
- Using short-term contracts for hiring project-based employees.
- Optimize the workflow. To ensure key functions and services are maintained, you can hold daily early morning meetings to reallocate staff according to the situation of the day. Reassign roles and responsibilities according to the priority of each employee at the company.
- Consider a special and temporary allowance for car/motorcycle use, to encourage employees to come to the office if they are concerned about using public transport.
2. How to ensure employees' safety within the company
- Establish stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols for all rooms and facilities within the company.
- Monitoring and maintaining proper social distancing guidelines.
- Devise a contingency plan for another spike in Covid 19.
- Revise travel policies.
- Deploy AI advanced technology to promote collaboration within the company while maintaining social distancing protocol and tracking and keeping updated with each employee’s health condition, and detecting suspect health risks and improper behavior in advance.
3. How to support employees' mental health
- Train managers and supervisors to pay attention to employee motivation and give feedback and full recognition of the work they are assigned. And encourage employees to participate in training and career development.
- Provide health training for employees to reduce the risk of stress and burnout.
- Listen to employees’ needs and concerns and provide support where possible.
- Set clear goals and stick to the results.
- Allow employees to have their work habits to distribute workload better and avoid fatigue.
- Reassign stressed employees to new roles to reduce the employee turnover rate.
- Be empathetic and provide personal feedback with the right message for your employees.
- Personalize reward. Develop a new incentive scheme such as new benefits packages based on personal performance or based on their needs and preferences.
4. How to manage a large chunk of employees working from home
- Come to an agreement clearly about specific KPIs, productivity standards, expectations from managers and employees, promises, and commitment.
- Review performance weekly and consistently.
- Be organized and flexible to the working hours due to difficulty in terms of indispensable personal problems of the individual.
- Using AI-enabled data-driven tools to track employees’ progress, monitor costs and workforce performance, reduce less valuable tasks, provide an optimal virtual environment for them to innovate, and facilitate real-time collaboration between each team member.