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HR Innovations in the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, HR professionals must develop creative ways of creating resilient workplaces for employees as well as themselves. HR leaders are essential in creating healthy and supportive workplace environments through new leadership approaches, holistic work-life policies and communication pathways.

HR should remain abreast of changes to employment laws and emergency orders that may impact employee benefits, such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Workplace Vaccination Requirements

Employers have increasingly required employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or wear masks at work, leading to significant friction among some staff members. Employers’ ability or duty to require employee vaccination depends on federal, state and New York City-specific laws that apply across all of them.

Though some state and local governments have outlawed vaccine mandates, such requirements remain popular across sectors – especially higher education and healthcare. With no clear federal policy to guide their decisions, colleges, universities, hospital CEOs, and even small business owners have established their own mechanisms to encourage or mandate vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates may seem cumbersome and inconvenient, yet they will likely stay. To minimize employee resistance to these policies, employers should make vaccination more convenient by sharing practical information on how to navigate it, streamlining the experience itself and expanding access to vaccination sites.

Employees challenging vaccination requirements or other employer policies based on ADA or Title VII have the best chance of succeeding if they can demonstrate that the employer failed to engage in the interactive process to determine whether an accommodation would be reasonable, or applied the policy non-neutrally. Employers should document all steps of this process, such as when an accommodation would constitute an undue burden and refuse it altogether.

Workplace Lockdowns

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, some workplaces are adopting work from home (WFH) policies for employees who can safely work from their own homes, in order to reduce transmission risk while still providing employment. WFH policies may help increase efficiency by decreasing risks while simultaneously permitting people to continue work from a safe distance from one another.

WFH presents many challenges to working professionals, particularly those who juggle multiple responsibilities both at work and home, such as caring for children or elderly family members, maintaining a house, running errands and meeting deadlines at work. Furthermore, working from home can cause great amounts of stress which in turn leads to depression, anxiety and decreased life satisfaction.

There is an urgent need for more research that addresses these issues, with most studies to date focusing on perceived mental health care needs for specific groups such as healthcare workers or pharmacy students.

The present research seeks to investigate how COVID-19 changes in lifestyle, overlapping responsibilities and discomfort have an effect on working professionals’ job performance, distress levels and life satisfaction. Data was gathered via online survey from 433 professionals from private and public organizations across Delhi-NCR during India’s third and fourth phases of lockdown via an online survey; partial least squares structural equation modeling was utilized to test for any hypothesized relationships.

Workplace Culture

Within a relatively short timeframe, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped many corporate cultures, forcing HR leaders to prioritize employee wellness and empathy above other considerations in workplace structures; shift from in-person teamwork to remote collaboration methods and shift in-person teamwork toward remote methods of working together for greater collaboration methods; the coronavirus crisis is certain to alter corporate cultures forever.

Culture is key to any company’s success, according to research. Culture impacts employees’ psychological wellbeing and work performance directly, and HR leaders can promote it by setting clear vision, values, expectations and encouraging employees to work collaboratively, share ideas and provide feedback.

HR leaders should participate actively in an Emergency Response Team and implement guidelines, making sure all staff and managers are aware of any new developments in employment laws that impact benefits or leave. In addition, they should establish regular cadence of boss-employee check-ins to reinforce a collegiality cultural code; create and implement an emergency phone tree; inform employees what to do if they feel sick and encourage working from home in case a lockdown happens; this will facilitate a seamless return to normal business operations without incurring extra layoffs or layoffs.

Workplace Technology

Technology has played a pivotal role in changing workplace practices due to the coronavirus crisis. Many business leaders have discovered that tools such as video call software, cloud storage solutions, visitor screening apps and operations management systems can assist employees working remotely while still remaining productive. Although some employers were initially skeptical of using such applications pre-covid, their quick implementation and ease of use has proven their worth during an emergency situation.

Technology firms have also devised tracking devices designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Digital contact tracing systems provide HR staff with tools for keeping an eye on employees as they move throughout offices, hospitals and other facilities – even monitoring body temperatures so HR staff can identify whether an employee has tested positive.

Companies adopting and using new technology tools must remain aware of their privacy implications when using these new tools, including the policies of vendors they work with and whether these policies should be shared with all employees. It is crucial that businesses fully comprehend their vendors’ privacy policies, communicated to all employees, and address privacy concerns related to COVID-19 in a manner which won’t violate employment or privacy laws – this way the change to business can be managed to minimize employee productivity losses.

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