The COVID-19 pandemic has changed literally everything about how we live, how we connect, how we spend, how we celebrate, how we travel and, of course, how we work.
Perhaps what the pandemic and its fallout have changed the most, however, is something much more personal: our priorities. Never before has there been such a remarkable and collective shift in what people hold important: connections, health, time and security.
That shift in people’s priorities is, of course, inevitably translating into the workplace. While basic traditional employer expectations—such as competitive pay and comprehensive benefits—will always remain important, workers are now expecting their companies to go above and beyond to cater to a changed work environment and adapt to the new realities in which they find themselves.
So the question on every business and HR leader’s mind should be: “What do my employees want—and how can I fulfill those needs in a way that makes operational sense?”
Almost a year into the great work-from-home experiment, it’s clear that, for the most part, it worked. Employees like avoiding long commutes, enjoying the freedom to work from anywhere and wearing sweatpants to meetings, while businesses like that it ultimately didn’t impact their bottom lines—in fact, it raised productivity. Working from home is here to stay.
However, remote work does bring with it its own set of setbacks. With the line between work and home now blurrier than ever, people need their employers to be more flexible, whether it’s about working hours or location, as they seek to balance their lives in and out of the “office”.
How Businesses Can Adapt: Logistically, companies need to look at their existing suite of tech tools and software and build a comprehensive, up-to-date IT solution that facilitates communication and collaboration. These solutions must include a robust data security protocol to protect all of the sensitive company and employee information that’s being accessed from remote locations, especially to ensure compliance with global data privacy laws. They’ll also need to account for employees’ locations; if they choose to move to or work from a region with different labor or tax laws, these must be factored in to ensure both the company and its workers are always in compliance.
Including physical and mental well-being perks in benefits packages has been a growing trend. First initiated by tech companies looking to entice and keep a more discerning millennial and Generation Z workforce, it has proliferated quickly among most other businesses over the past few years. This trend has been further accelerated by the pandemic as people around the world grapple with the emotional and physical tolls it has taken on them.
How Businesses Can Adapt: Leaders and managers have been given an unusually intimate look into their colleagues’ lives in the months since remote work began, and that includes all the chaos that comes with it. With that in mind, it behooves business and HR leaders to consider rethinking their definition of productivity, actively adopting a culture that truly puts employees first and training managers on the best practices of accommodating flexible schedules. Furthermore, HR leaders should review their existing benefits and determine what can be adapted to the new ways of working, such as including online yoga or meditation classes or stipends to help pay for better equipment to make working at home easier. Not only will that show employees that they are supported, but it will also increase companies’ attractiveness as the talent market becomes more competitive.
2020 was a rollercoaster of a year. From the fear for health and livelihood brought on by the pandemic and its ramifications, to the anxiety resulting from political and societal upheavals around the world, the world has rarely been through so much in such a short period of time. This whiplash has had people collectively yearning for one thing above all else: stability.
How Businesses Can Adapt: There are so many unknowns in people’s lives today, so companies should work as hard as possible to not contribute to that. They should err on the side of overcommunication, leveraging their internal communication channels to showcase their executives and department heads delivering transparent and authentic updates on the company. With the physical water cooler and chance corridor meetings relics of the past for now, companies should give their employees all the information they need (and that makes sense) for them to feel connected to the company and that they have a semblance of control over their career.
Adjusting to the future of work will force businesses to consider creative solutions to new problems. When faced with uncharted territory, it’s important for employers to understand relevant labor law so they’re building new programs and policies on a solid foundation. With accurate, professionally verified labor law and compliance information, employers will be empowered to not only maintain compliance but to also explore how they can go beyond the minimum requirements to meet the expectations that have emerged in the past year. That expert help is especially invaluable when there may not be a reliable blueprint for you to follow. Contact us here to learn how Expandopedia’s compliance solutions can empower your business to set itself up for future success.
Expandopedia is a global compliance and business intelligence platform designed for HR professionals and business strategists.
Headquartered in Chicago, Expandopedia is powered by a global network of HR & Legal professionals to provide the intelligence that businesses need to thrive and remain compliant when running a multinational business.
Expandopedia provides all the knowledge and insights to successfully onboard, retain and offboard employees as well as data-driven analysis to empower strategic decision making.
Written by Talal Awartani