Workforce Management Trends: What Has Changed With The Pandemic?

As coronavirus introduces new workplace trends, it’s crucial for organizations to follow suit to be on the safe side moving forward. Leaders must develop new strategies to enhance workforce management after Covid-19.

Workforce management after Covid-19 requires organizations to focus more on the important skills to thrive and complete workflows successfully.

PMs and HR managers must be conversant with the changing trends and analyze their impacts on workplace processes and goals. From there, it’ll be easier to know the areas requiring immediate attention and the degree each of them has to business plans and objectives post-corona.

Accomplishing this task will take more than working from home or remotely. The introduction of new technologies and procedures in workplaces will require the assignment of new roles, hence, reskilling will be necessary. Workers will need to learn new values, and codes of conduct, and switch to new mindsets in a fast-changing workplace.

The restrictions by most governments to curb the pandemic triggered most of these work trends. Nowadays, most individuals operate their occupational tasks remotely. Now, not only do companies and consumers interact digitally, but also with workers and employers.

Advancing trends like digitalization, innovation, and automation are now the working codes for most businesses. It’s best for companies to invest in post-corona opportunities to retain their stance and appeal to consumers even after a corona.

Failure to do so will leave many businesses behind with catapulted monetary, closure, and layoffs risks. So, what are these trends you need to be safe?

 Thirteen Trends in Workforce Management after COVID-19 

Since lockdown restrictions went into effect, millions of workers worldwide have resorted to working remotely. But just how many are operating remotely due to the COVID pandemic?

According to stats from several separate researchers, nearly 2/3 of US citizens are working indoors because of the ongoing world health crisis.

One poll titled the COVID-19 Business Index by SHRM shows 64 percent of US employees are tackling their workplace duties remotely amid a crisis.

In another Gallup survey, 62 percent of employed US citizens admitted to operating remotely amid Coronavirus restrictions.

That means an entire 2/3 of America’s workforce turned to remote working thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. But will this trend stick, or are these steps temporary?

Will we resume our offices post-corona?

Below are thirteen trends impacting workforce management after Covi-19;

  1.  A high number of individuals working remotely

Gartner recently conducted a survey that indicated a 48% probability of individuals working partly remotely when the pandemic subsides, which is 18% higher than the pre-pandemic period. The majority of businesses are shifting more to a remote way of conducting their operations. According to a recent Gartner poll, 74 percent of firms expect some of their staff to keep working from home post-pandemic.

No doubt over half of America’s employed workforce wants to maintain remote operations even after Corona has ceased, and it’s okay to resume offices.

With that in mind, organizations must explore all the crucial resources and features necessary for workers to collaborate well digitally. This step will require an adjustment to the employees’ performance and experience approaches.

In order to achieve this task easily, HRs should analyze the need and ways to shift workers’ evaluations and performance goals to a more remote setting.

  1. Prompt reskilling and up-skilling

All organizations should prepare their workers for changes by teaching them how to develop a learning mentality. Doing this will make them ready to deal with continuous and sudden changing environments.

Most occupational tasks that are done remotely require the adoption of fast-tracking technologies, which can necessitate creating or changing roles among workers. Workforce management after Covid-19 requires rapid reskilling for employees to become more agile and effective in their work.

The youth were highly affected job-wise when the pandemic began. The opportunities available for them are very few. This issue has become a major concern for most governments since most jobs affected by this epidemic were those that most youths held.

According to the Coronavirus Risks Outlook study, 49% of high-ranking risk management experts agree that most structural joblessness is because of coronavirus, especially among youths. Following this report, Zurich decided to utilize their institutional expertise and knowledge to help its new youth employees retrain and up-skill.

  1.  Comprehensive data collection

From Gartner’s recent analysis, at least 16% of companies frequently utilize fast-tracking technologies to monitor their workers’ performance.

Examples of these monitoring methods are; clocking in or out virtually, checking work done via computer usage, and observing the emails or chats of employees.

However, not all businesses utilize these methods; others check their workers’ productivity, well-being, and engagement to improve workers’ experience/performance. All these methods were operational to some organizations before corona, but their use shot when the virus began.

Collecting data concerning employees’ well-being, experience, safety, and performance is crucial, especially when they operate remotely. From this data, it’s easier to understand those lagging and the reasons behind their non-productivity or nonperformance.

  1.  Shifting leadership and supervision competences

The emergence of this virus was sudden and unexpected, making many businesses and economies run into panic and uncertainties when adjusting to the new routine- remote working.

People didn’t understand the extremity of what they were facing, and most companies had to use new strategies to get up to speed with the new routine. Achieving this task will be simple when the company’s culture and management/leadership skills emphasize empathy.

  1.  Encouraging transparency, trust, and openness

During this difficult and trying period full of uncertainties, it’s best to support each other, and that applies to executives, senior workers, and employees under them. During this pandemic, people learned to work separately and more precisely.

Remote working has made many individuals understand the doable and non-doable tasks at home while attending meetings virtually, something most of us hadn’t experienced before. As much as this may seem odd, isolated working has helped many people bond and get closer in ways you can’t imagine.

Workmates are developing more adaptive and effective ways to continuously get in touch, thus making trust and transparency their major priority. Such interactions are strictly professional, with everyone in the team working towards a common goal.

  1.  Personal and social welfare

The pressure and stress due to coronavirus and its related effects affect people’s social and personal lives. According to WHO recent research, 45% of China’s health employees have anxiety while Ethiopia was having a three times increase in depression prevalence in April only.

Such impacts necessitate the prioritization of expanding and improving the provision of mental health. Zurich developed a worldwide well-being framework even before corona started after realizing a constant increase in occupational-related challenges.

This framework is now applicable through the Group and other local settings to help meet various workers’ needs. It has four pillars that comprehensively expound on the monetary, social, mental, and physical welfare of workers.

Many programs supporting and advocating for mental health found that most people were affected during this corona period. Therefore, organizations need to rebalance and rethink their priorities to become more flexible and favorable to employees.

  1.  Extended use of contingent workers

Contingent employees are usually employed temporarily by organizations. Even with their limited job security, these types of employees are normally more productive and proactive than the permanent workers in a firm.

Many individuals became jobless, and some had to shift to lesser and more intimidating work models due to the ongoing pandemic. Strategies like reducing worker budgets and working in shifts don’t seem to work for some companies; many are still experiencing a shift.

Gartner reports indicating that there will be extended use of contingent workers as a flexibility strategy for workforce management after Covid-19. Also, organizations will consider employing other work models present during corona, for example, talent sharing.

This research shows that about 32% of businesses are swapping permanent workers with contingent employees to cut down on overall costs.

As much as this strategy is feasible, it’s crucial for HR administrators to evaluate the application of performance administration systems regarding contingent workers. Doing this will help them understand whether using will accrue better results than their full-time workers.

  1.  Humanization of workers

Executives should understand that as their employees work for them and are responsible for their actions, they are still human and have feelings. Following the humanitarian crisis, some organizations are now prioritizing employees’ well-being, considering them more of people than just workers.

However, other companies still push their employees to operate under harsh conditions while offering little support and still expect productivity and deliverability.

Working under pressure and stress discourages employees from putting in more effort and enjoying their work in general. It’s crucial for administrators to be considerate and deliberate in their actions and approach to matters.

Put yourself in an employee’s shoes and try to understand the effects your actions have on their experience. In case of any inequities in a workplace, both onsite and remotely, when workers address complaints. Developing an effective and more engaging workplace culture can do the trick.

  1.  Agility in Working

The coronavirus affected everyone globally, and almost everybody had to adopt remote and shift working modes, which seemed very unprecedented at first. However, in the long run, things turned out differently; people got used to this new adjustment pretty quickly.

This action showed that people are capable of moving and acting faster than expected. Organization executives now have a blueprint of the doable and impossible activities in the company minus traditional processes.

The pandemic has been a major contributor to the speed and scale of most workplace innovations. This will change workforce management after Covid-19 as businesses find much easier, agile, and inexpensive methods to carry out their operations

  1.  Focusing more on resilience planning than efficiency planning

Last year, Gartner conducted a companies’ design survey, which indicated that 55% increased efficiency by focusing on rationalizing workflows, supply networks, and tasks. Such an approach is okay, but it can create instabilities since it limits the flexibility of approaching disruptions.

Organizations using the resilient planning approach could respond to change and disruptions better compared to those using the efficiency approach. Therefore, it’s advisable for organizations to use a responsive design that allows quickness and flexibility around outcomes.

Another way is through formalizing the flexibility of processes and providing workers with variable, adaptive, and non-rigid roles to promote easy training and cross-functional awareness.

Also, involving D$I administrators during the designing of workplace roles and workflows will warrant the creation of flexible systems that consider all employees without any bias.

  1.  Separating the most important roles and skills

Before corona, the most important roles were those needing critical skills and capabilities for a company to accomplish its strategic objectives. However, this idea changed during this pandemic season, where these roles signify those roles necessary for the most important workflows to be successful.

Workforce management after Covid-19 requires organizations to focus more on skills necessary for the company to thrive and complete workflows successfully than the roles.

Employers should encourage their workers to develop important skills that can pave the way for more opportunities career-wise than focusing more on their following roles.

  1.  Extended organizations complexity

This pandemic forced many organizations to be nationalized and an increase in worldwide Merging and Acquisition (M&A) activities to prevent their failure or closure. These activities are expected to continue even after the coronavirus stabilizes.

Many organizations will be considering expanding geographically and capitalizing in more secondary markets for easy management and mitigation of possible future disruptions.

As a result, companies are becoming more complex in size and management, which later will affect leadership roles as they evolve. With this trend, organizations will need to modify the management of performances because this initiative may not apply to all parts of the organization.

When organizations get more complex, also the career path concerning those fields becomes complex leading to reskilling and the need for career development. Such companies support these needs in ways such as establishing platforms that aid reflectivity into internal posts or resource development.

  1.  Employers extending their roles in Social Safety

With the ongoing pandemic, most employers are now chipping in to support their workers physically, financially, and mentally. Examples of this support include; improving sick leaves, assisting them financially, child care services, and adjusting the working hours.

Some companies ventured into community support through activities like relief funds and producing goods or provisions that could help fight the pandemic. With the hurdles and inconveniences people are encountering during this time,  bosses are changing their perspective regarding worker experience.

Now, they focus mostly on personal factors rather than external factors when handling organizational and workers matters. By so doing, they are promoting workers’ physical and mental health.

 Positive and Negative Impacts the Pandemic Has on Remote Working

Remote working wasn’t something everyone was prepared for, but a swift found necessity that organizations and employees had to adapt using the necessary available remote working tools. Here are various strengths and drawbacks of the unprecedented changes in workforce management after Covid-19.

Positive impacts

  •  Appropriateness in home and work balance

Generally, most businesses are situated in metropolitan areas. Commuting to work during the pre-pandemic season was a bit hectic because of traffic jams, waiting for public transport means, or commuting to work.

Remote working has lessened all these troubles for most individuals, giving them opportunities to spend ample time with families. According to Fun Corp’s research, most employees show fewer signs of stress when working remotely than when going to offices.

  •  Improve productivity and concentration

When the lockdowns were initially initiated, most individuals had a notion that remote working will be difficult. However, this idea changed sooner than expected. This form of working reduces eternal irritants, thus decreasing work stress, which eventually leads to efficiency in tasks.

  •  Improve employment pool

Before corona, working from home wasn’t embraced by everyone. However, this changed over time; most employees are now conversant with this arrangement, and it’s becoming prevalent in most areas and fields now, pooling in more talent that was previously not interested in teleworking.

  •  Budget-friendly and cost-effective

Now, most organizations save on their operating costs through the redistribution of budgets. Businesses view expenses in a more business-oriented and rational way while putting into consideration the ongoing epidemic.

Money meant for office equipment, and rent can now be allocated to other activities necessary for the present situation.

  • Availability of a wider employee search range

With remote working, organizations can now access talents and expertise from proficient personnel worldwide. Doing this has enabled companies to get very productive and skillful contractors for various internal and external processes.

  •  Longer working hours

Not all countries are in the same time zone. Some businesses serve consumers from several countries or continents with different time zones.

Companies use virtual teams to take care of cross-border clients because of easy coordination and communication through online communities.

Agents assigned in those countries can be representing the company’s interests, gather views, receive conference calls, or attend international meetings.

Your virtual team members in Africa will attend to consumers in Africa, same applies to the US, Canada, China, and any other nation connected to your business.

Negative impacts

  •  Isolation

Working from home made people leave their offices, colleagues, and people who come through for them when they are in dire need. People’s moods changed, even for those individuals who were unsociable and quiet before the quarantine.

  •  Homes not suitable for office staff

Not all of our homes provide a good and conducive space for remote working. Some people had difficulty organizing and creating working stations they can use to work within their homes comfortably.

  •  Low performance and productivity

Performance can averagely reduce when working remotely because of several reasons depending on the worker’s personality and discipline. Examples of these individuals include easily distracted people and procrastinators.

  •  It’s easy to misinterpret electronic communications

Communication breakdown has been a major concern for most businesses using this working model.  Most people were missing online meetings and in-person conversations. Companies should consider investing in training and enlightening their workers about digital communication channels to reduce miscommunication probabilities.

  •  Difficulty Concentrating

Distractions are major obstacles to workplace productivity. Mindset is everything when working remotely from home, so you should wake up to things that get you in the mood to work.

While some of us would skip the early morning shower to create more time, others need that shower to start their day on an active note.

It is important to get your mind ready for work. Practicing relaxation techniques like reading, yoga, taking a cup of coffee, or meditation can help you ease into your day’s list of tasks.

But nurturing the office mindset should eat up your valuable time. Save enough hours for work because you don’t want to start working late and go past office hours.

  •  Trust factor

Many executives are never sure whether to trust their employees to do assigned work well, especially if the delivery gradually reduces.

Effective virtual team management requires that the managers and team members to fully trust in each other.

  •  Monotony factor

Working from home can make employees become socially isolated due to long hours of loneliness.

Workers no longer have the luxury to chat about their personal endeavors like they usually do in offices, making them to detach themselves from fellow team members.

Team members need to come up with team-building remedies to boost the level of interaction, for example, using online platforms like Zoom and G-suite.

  •  Internet connection factor

Access and availability of internet connection vary with countries and regions. Some places have low or no internet connection while others have a fast and reliable network.

An unreliable internet connection can be detrimental to a business, especially if they have deadlines to meet.

Final Note

With any crisis comes threats and downfalls, but opportunities can arise too. Workforce management after Covid-19 requires organizations to get up to speed with real opportunities and trends that will help them view performance differently and reinvent the work’s future.

With the above trends, companies can develop ways to proactively indulge their workforce physically, skillfully, behaviorally, and value-wise for better, productive, deliverable, and efficient growth.