The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in companies.
The lockdown forced many companies to stop their activities totally or partially, caused anxiety and led workers to uncertainty due to the risk of loss of employment and income. It did not only spread negative feelings but also allowed us to develop resources and update knowledge and skills, both individual and collective that perhaps were unknown until now.
The job market has become more competitive since the unemployed people are challenged to develop their employability skills to the maximum to make themselves visible and valuable.
One of the phenomena associated with the crisis that will significantly change the world of work is the acceleration of digitization processes in many companies. Even the companies most reluctant to remote work have been forced to implement it to ensure the health of their workers. Some of them are not ready to work remotely but they will establish remote-work policies without verifying psychosocial conditions for the team and achieving productivity.
In my opinion, the main change of the companies will be to ensure psychologically and physically healthy working conditions for all; as well as to rethink system of monitoring and evaluation of the performance towards results and objectives, based less on the number of working hours or functions, but the productivity and efficiency of the teams.
From the HR department of Afiens Legal SLP, we want to share according to the experience a list of 6 tips on actions and measures that have helped us to take initiatives to transform these great challenges into significant changes within the company:
1.-Design of policies aimed at safety and hygiene in the workplace through the development of policies that permit more flexible working hours to avoid gathering all team together in the same place, redesign workspaces to ensure and maintain the safety distance, continuous monitoring of workplace hygiene policies, making the hygiene safety equipment available to the staff, etc.
2.-Implementation of 3 components: Communication, Sharing ideas and Trust. There is no doubt that we can overcome uncertainty with the issue of transparency. No one can guarantee the success of decisions taken unilaterally in situations that no one has ever faced before. We do not know what will happen either with the coronavirus disease or with the economy, but it would be good as far as possible to share it with the whole team, or a significant representation of it, join forces and design a clear and shared strategy that will help to increase productivity and competitiveness. Now more than ever Employee Satisfaction survey or Occupational Health and Safety quiz can provide direct feedback from the team to measure the well-being of the employees, as it is the only thing the company management must make.
3.- The sight set on remote work: The year 2020 will be remembered by all in addition to the terrible pandemic as the year of remote work. During 2020, due to the Covid crisis, the working world turned towards the home office. Thanks to the requirement to implement remote work, all companies have found out remote work pros and cons. Should we give up on the idea of remote working? Or vice versa, should all companies offer remote work to employees? It depends on each company. What is clear is that the advantages and disadvantages of each system must be analyzed and a balance between the two must be sought. Among its benefits, we must point out that it can be more useful to achieve a work-family balance and increase the productivity, if the remote work is not imposed on the team but is freely chosen. And if you are more interested in remote work, you will feel supported by your needs and, consequently, more motivated in your daily job, even when you suffer the inconvenience of lack of contact with colleagues, which can resent links between teams and depending on the person, produce a feeling of isolation.
4.-New approaches to Leadership. In the “New Now” one of the challenges of the leader is to “inspire” the team. The leader becomes an Agent of Change. A leader who promotes digital ways of working and with his example strengthens the trust and transparency. For this reason, companies need empathetic leaders who value team effort and bet on two-way communication and receive feedback from the team. A leader can turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity to strengthen a corporate culture and increase productivity and employee commitment.
5.-Innovation. Uncertainty and need are stimulus that encourage us to deal with situations creatively, to redesign the way of doing things. We should be restless and wanting to improve our daily work. We should not think that everything is already done. We must be dynamic, open to changes and focus on continuous improvement to stay in the increasingly competitive market. We must look around us and learn from others. So, we can improve every day to feel useful in the market.
6-Digitization and automation of processes. There is no doubt that the new normal is digital. It is time to reduce bureaucracy and focus on promoting a more flexible and adaptive organization, relying on systems that help us to automatize our internal and operation processes, and supported by digitization to face increasingly evolving challenges. That is why, one of the tasks of the HR departments will be to acquire skills to be able to perform the new roles that are demanded in the market and to work on the development of other skills to get all employees to adapt to the changes of the “New Now” and in this way they can reach the objectives set by the company.
As head of HR department at AFIENS I can tell you that our company for the sake of continuous improvement and adapting to the “New Now” after COVID-19 has considered the needs of the team and the market, opting to create a safe and flexible working space. The company conducts Employee Satisfaction surveys from time to time and that is what allows us to design and redesign policies to create 100% healthy work environment. We must get involved in humanizing companies. Employee productivity is closely linked to motivation and the tools that companies provide to the team. The more aligned we are as a team the stronger will be our pillars.
Silvia Perez Manjavacas
Head of HR department at Afiens legal