The UK lockdown has been extended by three weeks – how will you and your business cope?

First, remember that the Covid-19 crisis is going to be a marathon, not a sprint – and lessons and best practice of working under challenging conditions must be learnt so that organisations do not regress into outdated employment practices, HR and digital transformation experts from the University of Salford are urging.

“We don’t yet know when the crisis will end, so HR should be at the forefront of not only dealing with the changes now but also to plan for the future,” says Dr Jonathan Lord, an HR specialist at the university. “Immediate strategic planning is required because staff have had to adapt quickly to starkly different working conditions, not to mention big changes to how they live.”

Other recommendations offered by Lord and digital transformation expert Dr Alex Fenton are:

  • Stay compliant: Careful steps need to be taken to avoid slipping into the realms of discrimination. High-profile figures, including US president Donald Trump, have referred to Covid-19 as a “Chinese virus”, which can encourage language and thought processes that breach the Equality Act 2020, as well as create a discriminatory culture. The business needs to have a clear and consistent approach to communications, using a uniform language that addresses actions rather than people.
  • Adapt WFH [working from home] and sickness policies: Even if the organisation has a WFH policy, this will need to be reviewed and updated to reflect the unique situation staff are asked to work. Included in this review should be the levels of flexibility across the workforce, allowing staff to work from home at their own pace. Remote working can offer many advantages, from lower overhead and flexible schedules to reductions in employee community and, some experts say, increases in productivity along with lower attrition rates. At the same time, there can be disadvantages such as worker loneliness and burnout.
  • Educate your employees: Help your employees understand how the organisation is reacting in uncertain economic circumstances and what, if any, will be the impact upon the workforce.
  • Enable your employees: Rather than view more flexible working, including WFM, as anti-business, recognise the potential opportunity to consider more effective, efficient and alternative ways of working. This may result in a trial-and-error basis of adopting new technologies in an agile manner, the Salford experts say.

“Covid-19 will reshape the world we live and work in…but proactive planning as well as considered safeguarding…are key to managing the concerns Covid-19 presents,” they said.


Original article ‘HR experts offer recommendations following extended UK lockdown’ Published by The Recruiter


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