Some people have lost their jobs, or seen them change significantly as a result of COVID-19.
When the crisis abates, whether temporary or permanently, one thing is for certain: the workplace will change!
Some workplaces will be smaller as a result of mass layoffs, and others will have less people in the office as some companies allow more employees to work from home.
It may take a long time to get back to normal, or some version of normal, but if employers can anticipate how COVID-19 is going to change the workplace and employee needs, they can make the transition back to work a lot smoother.
Focus On Employee Well-Being
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there was already a growing trend of employers putting extra focus on employee well-being and mental health, and that will need to continue in its aftermath.
There are both small and large steps that companies can take to invest more in employee well-being. Some companies offer employees free subscriptions to Headspace, an app that focuses on guided meditation and healthy lifestyles. There are also several other mobile apps that focus on mental well-being.
Some companies have altered their employee benefit packages to include a certain amount of counseling sessions and telemedicine options. It's also likely that companies will take a closer look at sick time policies, based on lessons learned from COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic has been stressful, and stress affects everyone differently. That stress may still be evident as people return to work, and it will be important to be mindful of that.
Continue To Be Flexible
How people return to work following COVID-19 is a bit of a mystery at the moment. It's possible businesses that are able to do work remotely may ask employees to continue to work from home.
In some cases, businesses may have only a small number of employees return to office and keep the rest of the workforce remote. As far as long-term impacts, some businesses may fall in love with the remote workforce setup and decide to give up their offices and save on their real estate costs.
Whatever the case, businesses should continue to allow remote work flexibility, and even improve their remote work infrastructure.
Some employees won't be comfortable returning to work initially and will want to continue working remotely, and with the uncertainty about future coronavirus outbreaks, it only makes sense to have a strong remote work structure in place. In addition, when companies start to hire again, remote work flexibility also makes companies extra attractive to top talent.
Now that more companies have adapted to remote work, it would be silly to go backwards.
Better Communication Is Essential
With all the changes taking place as a result of coronavirus and mass layoffs, it's as important as ever to keep employees in the loop.
Employees may be concerned about their futures at the company or changes to their jobs. Share what information you can with employees, and share the information often.
The combination of changes from the coronavirus and the stress that comes with it will make much of the workforce uneasy at first.
Transparency will not only help ease some of these concerns, but it makes for a healthier workplace overall.
There are still a lot of questions about what the impact of coronavirus will be in the coming months, and maybe years, so chances are companies will have to continue to make decisions on the fly. The more employees are involved in these changes, the more comfortable they'll be with them.
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