Posted July 29, 2021
After spending several months dealing with COVID-19, many workers are frustrated and worried. They are looking for employers who can help them cope with all the changes they’ve experienced in work and life. As employees think about the future, many believe work will never be the same. Review three ways employers can help employees deal with the future of work in a post-pandemic world.
Make the transition easy
Employees who worked remotely during the pandemic got used to working in comfy clothes and setting their work schedules. But now, as companies strive to resume work in the office, employees are dreading the return to a structured work environment. They’re unsure how they’ll handle the transition.
Instead of mandating that all employees work in the office, experts advise employers to ease employees into it. Start by introducing a blended schedule, allowing employees to work two or three days each week in the office and the other days at home. After one or two months of this modified schedule, review workflow, project accomplishments and employee productivity. Conduct pulse surveys with employees to gather feedback on their work life. Review productivity and team communications with managers. If the modified employee work schedule supports business growth, consider extending the blended work plan on a month-by-month basis. Share decisions on work and schedule changes with employees to maintain good communications between workers and management.
Employees say that how their employer handles their return to the office will determine if they stay. Open communication will go a long way in showing employees you care about them and that their ideas are heard.
Many employees are caring for their children and older family members. During the pandemic, they’ve juggled caregiving responsibilities with work. As a result, many of these employees feel they haven’t had time to keep current in their professions. One survey showed that 41% of surveyed employees didn’t have time for upskilling to maintain career development.
Businesses can support these caregivers by offering extra paid time off and flexibility to take care of family needs. Some employers also offer backup care options for employees when they don’t have access to caregiving services. Also, offer new training and learning experiences that fit employees’ work schedules. Find out the knowledge and skills they would like to develop and set up training programs to meet their needs.
Offer robust benefits
About 26% of employees surveyed say they plan to look for a new job as the impact of the pandemic eases. Some are bored and looking for a job change. Others are not happy with how employers have responded to COVID-19.
Business experts predict that post-pandemic workforce competition will heat up. Companies may struggle to keep and find top talent. One of the ways employers can maintain a viable presence in the labor market is to offer a robust employee benefits package. Offer competitive compensation and a flexible schedule. Design a health benefits program that includes medical insurance, and dental and vision coverage. Employees value health insurance for preventive screenings and to take care of unexpected medical expenses. But it’s the dental and vision plans that employees use the most to keep their teeth and eyes healthy through annual preventive exams.
Employees also want access to financial well-being programs. About 22% of employees surveyed feel financially insecure and are stressed about bills. About 40% of Americans don’t have enough money saved to cover a $400 unexpected expense. Employees value benefits that provide student loan repayment assistance, tuition reimbursement, financial planning and retirement savings.
Invest time in telling employees about their benefits. Explain how they can use their coverage and why benefits can make a difference in their lives. Remember, benefits provide security for employees, especially in uncertain times. These benefits help resolve employee stress, so workers are more productive and focused on the job.