We have released the results of our HR in the New Normal survey, carried out amongst nearly 300 HR professionals who participated in a recent webinar on key issues for HR teams as organisations continue to live with the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest challenge reported by HR professionals with employees working remotely is supporting managers to maintain team communication and morale (42%), followed by performance management when working remotely (28%). Commenting on the survey results, Ger Connolly, Employment Law Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, said “Organisations have adapted very quickly to remote working, using the available technology to maintain communications. However, the results of the survey point to the fact that it is hard to replace human contact with technology solutions, and we all need work a little harder to maintain contact with our colleagues during this time. It’s interesting that performance management comes in as the second highest challenge, and it could be that difficulties around communicating while working remotely can lead to performance issues.”
Turning to the question of when offices might re-open fully, the majority (63%) believe their centralised workplace will not re-open fully until after April 2021. 24% believe that it will be in the January – March 2021 period when their workplace will re-open, while 8% are more optimistic and think an October – December 2020 re-opening is feasible. 5% believe their centralised workplace will not re-open fully at all in 2021. “When we asked this same question of HR professionals at a webinar in May, 78% of those surveyed stated that they felt they would be back in the office within two months and only 2% believed it would be 2021 before they return. This shows a major shift in sentiment as we continue to grapple with the pandemic and cases continue to rise”, said Connolly.
37% of those surveyed also believe that there may be redundancies in their organisation over the next 6 months, displaying a shift from short-term lay-offs in organisation to longer term rationalisation of the workforce. “The next 6 months may see more focus on redundancies as organisations are in survival mode. For HR teams, even when working remotely your policies still apply and should be followed carefully. Timely communication with employees will become even more important, so it’s important to use all the tools at your disposal for this”, concluded Ger.
To watch the HR in the New Normal webinar, please click here.