As the coronavirus pandemic creates a landmark shift in the way staff operate, the role played by the HR industry and HR teams will influence the way employees vision performing their duties post-pandemic. Sharing your attitude towards flexible working, such as remote working and working from home, will pave the way workplaces will react to the reopening of offices in the coming months. We run through the overhaul of duties for internal and external HR teams and how working from home is likely to create a long-term impact on the sector.
Management of staff across multiple locations
Over the long term, you may experience a split between your workforce as they choose to work in the office, work from home or in a remote working setting. As a member of the HR team, you will need to ensure that all staff have the relevant equipment and resources to fulfil work responsibilities. You may conduct a work from home assessment to ensure workstations are safe and fit for purpose. As a result, your role may consist of additional responsibilities, such as constructing work from home set-ups and managing staff remotely.
Due to the split in locations, you may look to separate responsibilities for staff in the office and those working from home. Extra considerations may also include reviewing work insurance policies to ensure that employer-owned equipment is covered outside of fixed office locations.
Integrating a degree of flexibility
As staff took to their homes to work on a full-time basis over one year ago, likely, they will now expect HR teams to grant a greater degree of flexibility when returning to an office setting. As routines form around working from home and families adjust to this semi-permanent way of working, the transition back into the office is likely to create another landmark shift in the way employees perform their duties.
Businesses across the country have already demonstrated the appeal of permanently rolling out working from home or integrating more flexibility by splitting the working week between working from home and in the office.
HR teams will need to prepare for demand in the return of working from home and set out a fixed policy that sets out clear expectations and guidance around straddling between the two options.
Preparing for the post-pandemic office return
HR teams will need to ensure that suitable arrangements have been made for staff before reopening the office doors. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of regular handwashing, sanitising, and raising hygiene standards, including upgrading the cleaning standards of communal areas, such as break rooms, kitchens, printing, and postal stations.
When offices reopen and welcome staff from their return from working at home, they will need to provide a Covid-19 secure environment. As a result, HR teams will need to conduct the following duties:
- Update risk assessment with Covid-19 considerations
- Implement social distancing through floor markers and signage
- Provide sanitisation stations and ensure essential handwashing facilities are functional and well posted
- Ventilate shared areas to allow for germs and bacteria to escape, or provide air conditioning for better air circulation
It is essential to inform staff of the steps taken to mitigate the spread of the virus and take on board feedback from staff members. By protecting their wellbeing and putting measures in place to reduce the risk posed to employees, you can support the transition back to the office, and employees that choose to continue working from home.
David Tattersall is Head of Client Relations at Handpicked Accountants, an online platform comprising tried and tested accountants across the country, simplifying the search for those looking for an accountant. David’s specialisms extend to commercial finance and corporate insolvency.