The rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the way in which we work both for now, and in the future. As a leading global recruiter within the green industries, we’ve put together this think-piece article to highlight the impact which COVID-19 has had on the workplace, and whether businesses can become greener in the future.
The role of HR in safeguarding the mental wellbeing of staff
With government stated furlough schemes and self isolation, millions of people across the UK are obligated to self-isolate and work from home. In fact, 26% of those working remotely have reported feeling socially isolated, with a further 41% stating that they’re lacking the emotional and physical connection of their colleagues. With these figures set to rise because of increased stringency, HR departments must now put the wellbeing of the workforce at front of mind, to help build these connections and ensure productivity continues as the situation eases. Difficulty arises when processes are not put in place to ensure relationships, workload and communications are managed correctly. This had led to the widespread implementation of virtual workspaces and video conferencing through Skype and Zoom, to name but a few.
Increasing the HR audit
As of the 1st April 2020, 88% of organisations across the UK have encouraged their employees to work from home. This has presented businesses with the additional challenge of ensuring their employees have the full capacity and support to continue working from home for a prolonged period of time. Specifically, as the workload and virtual / online conversations increase, it’s critical that employees have the right capabilities to perform their daily jobs. Without the proper investment in technology and logistical continuation processes, productivity can suffer as a result. Thousands of businesses have taken the lead by auditing the technology of their employees, to ensure they are fully capable of doing their work, and supporting them where needed. Going beyond the basic starting points of a new PC, laptop or mobile phone, companies must also investigate the adequacy of wi-fi bandwidth and other technological capabilities.
Rethinking business travel in the future
At the time of writing, government statistics show that we have gone past the peak figures shown for COVID-19 contraction. Due to the reduction in public transport and large group gatherings, it seems we’re starting to see the tail-end of the COVID-19 saga. With this comes the realisation that life will slowly start returning to normal. This puts the question of business travel up for debate amongst senior management.
Experts have highlighted a behavioural shift that has emerged, indicating that net travel will remain below pre-COVID-19 levels. This holds true to a degree. Businesses and employees are starting to become more comfortable with the idea of virtual / online meetings from the comfort of their homes or private offices. From a sales perspective this could be beneficial as it minimises person-to-person contact, and allows deals / contracts to be signed without extensive travel expenditure, which could result in higher ROI.
So can businesses become greener?
In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, businesses have been forced to think outside the box in order to maintain their business-as-usual operations. Whether that be through enforcing departmental rotational schedules for office vs home working, or implementing virtual online meeting rooms etc. With all this change, some employees are feeling more empowered and productive when working from home, instead of the office. As part of this, businesses could be in a position where they enforce more of this working flexibility, thereby eliminating commute and helping employees reduce their carbon footprint.
With the workplace set to change for the near future, it’s those businesses that are able to adapt to the ever changing landscape that will survive. As experts within the recruitment industry and green sectors, we’re best placed to help you during this difficult time. So whether you’re seeking a confidential conversation or want to discuss how post-COVID-19 implications will impact your business, contact Irfan Lohiya today:
t. 0121 285 6070
m. 07580 170 406