As organisations prepare to resume operations from the office, new challenges are likely to emerge. The preparation for addressing these challenges is expected to span multiple aspects like policy amendments, phased return, safety protocols, tech adoption and more.
During our Parichay webinar, three HR leaders spoke about the demands of the new normal at the workplace. They also discussed how organisations can restructure their work and workplaces to help their teams continue to perform like before.
The webinar speaker panel included Sanjeeb Lahiri (CHRO, GRP Ltd), Chaitali Mukherjee (Head HR, Dalmia Bharat) and Sandeep Mudaliar (VP‒HR, Analytix Solutions). Presented below are some of the learnings from this webinar.
Workplace safety: You have to focus on creating a safer working environment. As employees return to office premises, screening, sanitisation and social distancing have to be made mandatory.
Travel (business & personal): Travel to/at work becomes the norm when restrictions are eased. Therefore, employees will continue to use public transport. A safe-travel policy can certainly help minimise the risk of infection at the workplace.
Vaccination: When organisations arrange vaccination drives and mandatorily capture the data related to it, improved visibility and predictability become feasible. Also, it ensures that safety is not compromised anywhere, anytime.
Health & Insurance: There are companies that have offered telehealth programs, Covid Leave and financial assistance to affected families. Health-related policies have extended the scope of group health insurance to cover employees’ families affected by Covid.
Covid Leave: Additional leave can be given to people who are infected with Covid. In this case, the leave policy has to be amended in such a way that the existing leave balance of an employee is not reduced.
Recruitment & learning: The arrival of the hybrid work model adds a layer of flexibility to the workplace. Recruitment and L&D have gone virtual since digitisation has enabled the seamless transition of work from home to work from office, and vice versa.
Work-mode preference: Employees are now electing to work in a remote or hybrid setup.
Hence, it will not be uncommon to see teams working and seamlessly collaborating from different locations. This also implies a complete shift in terms of the way the workforce is being managed. Here's where workforce management technologies become effective.
Data security: As workplaces turn boundaryless, data protection becomes vital. More business processes will be managed online and more people will access data remotely. Therefore, Human resource management has to strengthen their digitisation roadmap. This is essential even when many people return to office.
Employee safety: Companies have to invest more to ensure a safe workplace for employees. Traditional biometric punch machines are now being replaced with smart face-recognition systems. Field personnel can now be managed without human intervention, thanks to GPS-enabled geofencing and geotagging technologies.
Employee lifecycle management: HRs are always busy with the employee lifecycle processes. But technology is simplifying many of the repetitive tasks. A candidate can be selected using AI-based smart tools and welcomed on a virtual onboarding portal where he/she can complete all the documentation/formalities for onboarding. Then this employee can access a learning management system (LMS) where the entire learning happens digitally.
Successful transition of work from home to office can happen only with smarter workforce/workplace planning. Change of policies, infusion of new technologies and introduction of new and unique benefits can help create a workplace every employee would love to renter. Happy reopening!