There is no denying that COVID-19 has imposed a tremendous impact on the economy and the labor force. The world is now a vastly different place regarding how and where we work, as well as the technologies we use to engage with each other. This rapidly changing business environment has pressured HR departments to adjust their plans for the future. More than ever, it is important for HR to ensure an organization’s ability to adapt and stay resilient in today’s workforce.  

The questions are endless when it comes to forming predictions for the future of HR and workforce trends post COVID-19. In this blog post, we have envisioned some long-term implications on the new normal of the HR function and work. 

Embrace remote work

Before COVID-19, remote working has been picking up steam in many companies across the globe. At the beginning of the pandemic, the interest in remote working has been reignited as many businesses had to adjust to social distancing measures. As a matter of fact, remote work is here to stay. Remote work is an opportunity for organizations to work in a more sustainable way and strengthen the bottom line in the long run. According to Gartner 2020 research, 48% of employees welcome the benefits of remote working in the post-pandemic world, compared with 30% before. Furthermore, the Gartner survey also reveals 74% of employers plan to make a permanent shift of their onsite workforce to remote positions post COVID-19. 

Indeed, the remote work model translates into less commuting, less office space, and flexible work schedules for employees. It can have a positive impact on the remuneration system of companies since many employees now consider remote work as a perk. While many people still value the routine of getting to the office and interacting with their colleagues, they also prefer the solitude of the home office. 

Increase in organisation complexity

As the future of HR is gravitating towards remote work trends, many organizations have to rethink the execution of traditional HR functions. For example, the HR department must find ways to move their approach to onboard, employee engagement, and recruitment to a virtual world.  

In terms of onboarding, office tours, handshakes, and lessons on how to use the coffee machine are no longer relevant. Instead, business leaders must take a different approach to accommodate new employees. How do you ensure remote workers have the adequate equipment they need to work effectively? How do you grow the company culture within the remote team?  

Employers also need to pay attention to employee sentiment for collaboration during the rollout of structural remote working. How do you promote their engagement in a virtual work environment? How can you help bridge the gap and help team members bond, despite the physical distance of the remote work? 

There are also particular issues that surface in recruitment in a remote environment. There is a steep learning curve for recruiters to provide a positive candidate experience, as well as to ensure their potential hires fit with the company culture.  

Great emphasis on employee-centric culture

A winning company culture leads to a high level of employee engagement, productivity, and performance. Strong corporate cultures give employees a driving goal and purpose for their work. That intrinsic motivation encourages them to tackle the challenges of their job, form a strong connection with their colleagues, and enjoy the atmosphere of the workplace. As a result, it can have a hugely positive impact when it comes to attracting the right talent and bringing in more customers. A survey from Eagle Hill Consulting reveals that 77% of employees believe a strong company culture motivates them to do their best work, 76% see the impact on productivity, and 74% report a correlation between culture and their ability to serve their customer base. 

With the implications of the remote working transition, it is no doubt that organizations are making a shift towards hybrid working models that allow flexible working arrangements between remote and office working. Therefore, one of the top priorities for HR departments post-pandemic is to establish a balanced structure to foster a thriving workplace culture that suited to these varying working conditions. The implementation needs to maintain the social dynamics between employees within an increasingly dispersed workforce. 

Investment in the corporate wellness program

Before the pandemic, it is no surprise that employee wellness programs have multiple benefits. According to statistics from the ITA Group, effective workplace wellness programs can result in 28% fewer sick days and 26% fewer health costs. The global crisis COVID-19 has taken a toll on people’s mental and physical health. Apart from the illness caused by the virus, the pandemic has also disrupted people’s normal and leave them demotivated. Thus, it has highlighted the need for HR leaders to take on more initiatives to bring their company’s mental health benefits on par with physical health support. 

Looking forward

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 means that many more changes come about in the future of HR. Therefore, it is vital to redefine your HR strategy to transition businesses to the new future of work predictions. 

Octagon Professionals is here to provide full HR solutions to help you navigate the changing world and continue to grow your business. Whether you need an HR expert to help you define your strategy, to provide hands-on support at your office, or a little bit of both — we will tailor a solution that fits your business’ needs best. Get in touch with us today