How HR Manages Remote Employee Challenges
In just under two months, millions of employees have been laid off, entire corporations have been strictly advised to work from home, and organization leaders have been faced with the dilemma of how to balance these new responsibilities–and how to do it remotely. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has flipped the American workforce upside down and created unexpected employer and employee challenges.
According to a recent Gartner survey, 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home.
Human resources is particularly burdened with how to navigate this new territory. Not only are they responsible for the majority of company lay-offs, but they’re the first chain of command when an employee seeks information or help.
How Has Remote Work Impacted Business?
According to a survey recently published by SHRM, 70% of employers are struggling to adapt to remote work.
2 in 3 employers say maintaining employee morale has been one of the biggest challenges. Furthermore, employers with over 500 employees report this as more of a challenge than small and medium sized employers.
More than one-third of employers are facing challenges with the following:
- Maintaining company culture
- Managing employees who are unable to telework
- Shifting communications to fit remote needs
- Having trouble managing the increase in leave requests
In addition, employee engagement challenges such as employee productivity and decreased working hours are further impacting an organization’s bottom line.
As the pandemic continues to change the modern workplace, employees’ expectations become more dynamic as well.
How Are Employees Reacting?
The uncertainty and anxiety that many employees are experiencing is expected given the current circumstances. Shifting attitudes, decreases in productivity, mental health struggles, and unexpected financial burdens, are just a few of the many work challenges experienced while working remotely.
A recent survey by Resonate found that 80% of respondents had deeper financial stress than health worries.
Furthermore, a majority (75%) said they are somewhat worried about having their car repossessed should they lose their jobs. If the crisis continues into the summer months,
more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they are somewhat worried about having to file bankruptcy.
In addition, a new report from Ginger found that 88% of workers reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress over the past 4 to 6 weeks. Among those reporting stress, 62% expressed at least 1 hour a day lost in productivity and 32% lost at least 2 hours a day due to stress related to COVID-19.
What’s most important to note? Nearly 7 in 10 employees admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most stressful time in their entire professional career.
What Can Human Resources Do to Help?
These times are undeniably overwhelming for everyone involved. Human Resources’ goal is to help employees facilitate the adjustment and provide access to resources and benefits as we enter a new normal. Here are some helpful tips to help communicate with employees effectively:
Give direction. Right now, employees rely on leaders at all levels of the business to take action and set the tone. This responsibility oftentimes falls on HR’s shoulders. Gartner’s survey found that 56% of organizations have communicated a plan of action to employees in the event of the COVID-19 outbreak. Do you have a documented plan of action for the future of the organization?
Encourage interaction. With no face time in the office or casual conversations with their co-workers, it’s important for employees to maintain interaction with their peers to increase employee engagement. 40% of organizations have set up additional virtual check-ins for employees with managers and 32% of organizations have introduced new tools for virtual meetings.
Provide flexibility. Where possible, allow employees to balance their work with other pressing priorities they may have during this time, such as caregiving for a sick relative, parenting and homeschooling their children, or simply adjusting to work-life-balance if working from home is new to you.
Expand your benefits. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), financial well-being programs, and other benefits are well-received during this time. Do your employees know about the benefits available to them? Re-communicate so your employees know what emotional and financial support are available. If your organization doesn’t offer these services, now is a great time to stress their importance to leadership.
If you’d like to learn more about TrueConnect, a financial wellness voluntary benefit that’s free to implement, contact us today.
What are you doing to ease your employees’ stress during this time?