How do employers improve face to face work after Covid-19?

Action is needed to address inequities at work exacerbated by the pandemic and long-term telecommuting by promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as thinking about how the company can help the employee thrive at work seamlessly.

Getting back to work

According to the World Economic Forum, after adapting work to the business crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, companies have been forced to consider the flexibilization of their business and staff to deal with unforeseen events.

For starters, if the intention is to return to work on-site, it is necessary to not fail to implement hygiene protocols, social distancing, and consider vaccination.  With the mandate announced in August by Mayor Jane Castor, all workers in Tampa must be vaccinated and those who, for medical or personal reasons, wish not to be vaccinated, will be required to wear an N95 mask in the workplace, in addition to being tested for Coronavirus once a week.

Hybrid work as an alternative

On-site work is not the only alternative.  It is not a new phenomenon, but the trend toward increased flexibility and telecommuting has been largely employee-driven.The sudden arrival of the pandemic caused even the most reluctant employers to consider new agile work options, and working from home was a viable option that even Fortune 500 CEOs found actually works.

Hybrid work is also a possible option, but before implementing it you should consider answering these questions: 

  • Is it possible to work effectively remotely?
  • Are there limits to work flexibility?
  • Does the company or employee have any insurance obligations and what controls are in place to monitor compliance?
  • Will the company monitor work performance and productivity while respecting employees’ privacy and personal lives?
  • How will the company monitor work schedules?
  • Does the company have a way to maintain the culture and engagement with those who work remotely? Will those early in their career receive the appropriate level of supervision, direction and opportunity for development?
  • What measures does the company have in place to look after the health and well-being of its employees? What training do managers and employees have to identify early signs of problems and escalate or support a colleague who needs help?
  • Do IT, data privacy, “bring your own device” and other policies need to be updated or implemented to facilitate successful remote work?

Fostering inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE).

It would also be positive to consider generating diversity and inclusion in the workforce. With a large talent pool, it is possible to fill gaps, drive innovation, increase profitability and be more competitive. The pandemic disproportionately affected women and ethnic minorities, and the business agenda has turned its attention to issues of equity, inclusion and diversity. If left unaddressed, these issues may affect workers and inequality may be exacerbated by the pandemic.

An important part of the strategy for harnessing the power of diversity and inclusion in the workforce is to understand the demographics of the workforce and investigate what is happening at each stage of the employment cycle to identify if there are any unfair barriers along the way and take steps to address them, which is easier when they are not created by entrenched cultural norms. For some companies, the legal risk of being on the wrong side of the law is a sacrifice worth making; others will want to take a different approach. 

Other alternatives include considering whether diversity and inclusion training is up to date, asking for employee feedback through anonymous questionnaires. Companies should take steps to put in place a robust program to monitor the implications of actions taken and be prepared to adapt their approach as necessary.

While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in many ways, it has also spurred positive change in employment, refocusing attention on SDI issues and prompting companies to embrace flexibility and reinvent the future of work for the sake not only of their businesses and customers, but also their employees and society.

At eSmart Recycling, we understand that as a community we cannot be successful if we do not implement initiatives that include everyone without distinction of any kind. That is why we recycle computers from organizations and companies to use part of the proceeds and return them in the form of computers for children and families with few resources. With this work, we contribute to making possible a future with more opportunities for them.

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