How COVID Has Changed the Work Landscape

The pandemic has caused many work trends to evolve, forcing HR leaders to reevaluate the workforce and employee planning, management, performance, and experience strategies. COVID will have a strong, lasting impact on the future of work. HR leaders must evaluate each trend’s impact on their organization’s operations and strategic goals and identify which ones require immediate action. Many organizations are even replacing full-time employees with contingent workers to help save on expenses. Business leaders must understand that large-scale shifts are changing how people work and how business is conducted. HR leaders who respond effectively can help their organizations stand out from competitors. Some working trends represent accelerations of existing shifts, while some are new impacts on the work landscape that have not been previously discussed.

Increase in Remote Working

Studies show that almost half of employees now work at least part of the time after remotely. Companies are currently shifting to more remote work operations, exploring the critical methods employees will need to collaborate digitally and preparing to adjust employee experience strategies. Many organizations will be considering how to shift performance goal-setting and employee evaluations for a remote context.

Expanded Data Collection

Technologies are frequently used to monitor employees through methods such as virtual clocking in and out, tracking work computer usage, and monitoring employee emails or internal communications. Technology will only continue to advance to monitor employees’ productivity and engagement to understand employee experience better. Using nontraditional employee monitoring tools will be accelerated by new monitoring of remote workers and the collection of employee health and safety data.

Contingent Worker Expansion

The pandemic has put the economy in a place that has forced many individuals to lose their jobs and exposed people to nonstandard work models for the first time. Many organizations responded to this by reducing their contractor budgets.

Organizations will continue to expand their use of contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in workforce management and introduce other job models such as talent sharing and 80% pay for 80% work.

Some organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure, while gig workers offer employers greater workforce management flexibility. Some businesses will be reevaluating how performance management systems apply to these workers and determining what benefits they should be eligible for.

Expanded Employer Role

Employers are now paying more attention than ever to their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being, whether it be through enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation, and child care accommodations. Many employers are taking a fresh look at the employee experience.

Some organizations are even showing their support to the community by shifting operations to help combat the pandemic and offering community relief funds and free community services.

Separation of Critical Skills and Roles

Employers are now beginning to realize that other category roles are critical to the success of essential workflows.

To build the workforce that is needed post-pandemic, they will need to focus less on roles and more on the skills that are needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel it.

Employees should be encouraged to develop critical skills that could create opportunities for their career development, rather than preparing for a specific next role. Businesses realize it is best to offer career development support to employees in critical positions who lack crucial skills.

(De-)Humanization of Employees

On the flip side of businesses hyper-focusing on employee wellness, other businesses are pushing employees to work in high-risk conditions with little support — treating them as workers first and people second.

Companies should be mindful of the effects on employee experience, which will be long-lasting.

Emergence of New Top-Tier Employers

Current and future employees will now judge organizations by how they treated employees during the pandemic. Organizations that are progressive and proactive will communicate openly and frequently to show how they are supporting employees despite the implementation of cost-saving measures.

Shifting from Efficiency to Resilience

In 2019 many companies were focused on streamlining roles, supply chains, and workflows to increase efficiency. While this approach reached many goals, it also wasn’t the best for systems that have no flexibility to respond to disruptions, whereas resilient organizations could better respond and correct course quickly with change.

To create a more responsive organization, the workforce is now designing roles and structures around outcomes to increase agility and flexibility and formalize how processes can flex. Employees are now being given varied, adaptive, and flexible roles to acquire cross-functional knowledge and training.

Leaders are paying close attention and working on role design and creating flexible work systems to ensure that employees of all backgrounds and needs are considered when workflows are designed, emphasizing the importance of protecting your clients with staffing liability insurance. 

About World Wide Specialty Programs

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage, we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (877) 256-0468 to speak with one of our representatives.