COVID-19 and the future workforce
In just a few short months, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the daily lives of workers up-side-down around the globe. For American employees, the result has unleashed a widespread move to remote work and skyrocketing unemployment rates.
But what other workplace changes will we see in the months and years to come?
When the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, it will have left a lasting mark on the workplace. Here are our predictions on how coronavirus will change the way we work... perhaps for good.
Medical screenings on the job
If you've never had your temperature checked on your way in to work, you might be in for a surprise when offices begin to re-open. According to CNBC, health and legal experts predict that on-the-job medical screening, such as temperature checks and antibody tests, will be a reality for those who return to work in the months ahead. In fact, it's already happening. In an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, essential workers at some of the most well-known companies in the country are screening employers before they are allowed to work. We have already equipped our office with temporal thermometers at benefitexpress in preparation for a return to headquarters—both in an effort to stop the spread of illness, and also to ease any anxieties our workforce may have and reassure employees that we are taking all necessary precautions to provide a safe working environment.
Remote work is here to stay
Amid the safer-at-home recommendations across the country, daily commutes for office workers are a thing of the past, and dining room tables, couches and basements have quickly replaced office space. Many of us may be in this situation for the foreseeable future, as organizations plan re-opening strategies while restrictions begin to lift. But eventually things will be "back to normal," meaning offices will once again be open. So where does that leave remote work? While some employees prefer office life, many organizations are discovering that telecommuting works well for them. It does for us! Just this week the benefitexpress executive leadership team celebrated our ability to provide the same outstanding service even from a remote setting. Following the pandemic, it’s likely that remote work will become even more common among businesses, and more employees will split their time between working from home and from an office.
Employers will have larger candidate pools
Speaking of remote work, companies who embrace this as the new normal will have the potential to create a more diverse, inclusive workplace. How? Employers and hiring managers will now have access to larger candidate pools instead of limiting themselves to geographical location. Additionally, prioritizing skills over geographical location helps eliminate hiring bias based on gender or minority status. It also means opportunities for people with disabilities or qualified candidates that, for one reason or another, cannot work in an office.
Increased employee engagement
You might be wondering how employee engagement will improve without being in a physical office setting. A few things come into play here. For a remote work setting to be successful, employers may have to relax certain rules such as "normal business hours" or start and end times. For example, many employees are juggling the demands of work life and home life without the physical separation of an office. When employers work closely with their employees to establish schedules that work for everyone, certain pressures are alleviated to create an uptick in employee loyalty, trust and even productivity.
Additionally, successful remote teams may require an investment on the employer's part, by way of providing the proper equipment for employee's to create a productive office setting at home. When making an investment in employees professional growth and productivity, employees will work better knowing that you care about them and their personal situation at home.
Less business travel
We've all felt the sentiment "this meeting could have been an email," but going forward that may change to "this business trip could have been a Zoom call."
As travel of any kind is halted, virtual meetings, presentations and demonstrations are taking center stage. Thus, some companies are learning that certain business travel is unnecessary and can even be done virtually. Not only does this limit the exposure to human contact, but it also cuts travel expenses. Furthermore, an increased collective interest in social distancing may limit large group events such as conferences and trade shows for quite some time.
The post-coronavirus landscape will look different for every organization. Whether your business continues to support remote work or resumes life at the office, there will inevitably be differences to what we previously considered "business as usual." benefitexpress is here to help you navigate those challenges so you can focus on what matters most—your employees.
benefitexpress recognizes that trying times paired with the current state of the job market requires employers to constantly consider improvements to their benefits programs. One of our newest service offerings, The Benefitexpress Marketplace, provides more options for our clients’ employees when they need them most. Download our product sheet to learn more about our selection of lifestyle benefits and product discounts.