Human resources professionals were pivotal for companies to navigate the workplace complexities caused by the pandemic. Even the concept of what constitutes a workspace underwent a radical shift as many employees began working from home. How employees work also experienced a fundamental change. Successful HR strategies require companies to remain aware of the growing trends. Some of the following HR developments have existed for a while. However, the pandemic and economy expedited them at an unprecedented rate.

Reevaluating and Refocusing on Employee Wellness

Wellness programs aren’t new concepts, but they’ve become critical due to the pandemic and inflation. Employees are more stressed and anxious than ever before, and businesses are reexamining their existing support offerings. Many wellness programs pre-pandemic were superficial or poorly implemented. Now, employers have no choice but to take employee wellness more seriously. Burnout is at an all-time high, and continuing to ignore it will cause massive disruptions in the workplace. Effective strategies will require a holistic approach to address employees’ financial, mental, and physical health.

Managing Gig and Contract Workers

Most HR departments focused on permanent employees before COVID. However, the gig economy took off as employees began looking for ways to supplement their income or replace jobs eliminated by the pandemic. With so many gig and contract workers, HR needs to find a way to bring these employees into the fold. Maintaining the traditional hands-off approach poses significant risks, such as inadvertently violating labor laws. It’s also imprudent to leave such a large and growing part of the staff unmanaged.

Accepting and Implementing Remote and Hybrid Work Options

Pre-COVID, working from home was a much sought-after luxury, but few businesses offered remote work. The pandemic forced most companies to adopt a remote workforce model with limited warning. Employees adapted, and they aren’t willing to relinquish remote work entirely. HR must develop a strategy to bridge the gap between employer concerns about remote work and employees’ adamant refusal to return to the workplace full-time. For example, implementing a hybrid work policy that allows employees to work from home a certain number of days per week is a good compromise. Flexible workspaces are also a must for businesses that employ local but 100% remote employees. Having that dedicated allows remote employees to come into the office to collaborate or provide human interaction if working from home becomes lonely.

HR has a significant opportunity to reshape the workplace in the coming year. Some of the traditional approaches to managing employees no longer apply in the wake of the pandemic. Employee expectations and the relationship between employer and employee experienced a dramatic transformation that requires an equally transformed HR strategy. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn how employee benefits can improve job satisfaction and employee retention.