Nearly seven months after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the world remains on guard, with new cases still emerging in many countries. The economy may be moving again, but the fears of the public just increased, as viral transmission became more likely with traffic flowing outside again.
As such, many employers continued with the work-from-home setup. But still, it didn’t improve the situation of employees, as the demands of a job and managing a household increased stress levels. In turn, their health and happiness are compromised, elevating their risks of contracting illnesses.
That is where the Human Resources department enters. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of HR in all organizations. Since they’re the ones in charge of handling employee benefits, this is the best time to ensure that all employees are covered.
That said, let’s identify the things HR can do to help uplift employees during this period.
Realize the Long-term Implications of the New Normal
Work-from-home is currently the new normal for a lot of companies. It proved useful in maintaining connections with employees, especially since many of them are facing financial uncertainties. However, while this new work culture may help short-term productivity, the long-term implications may not be as favorable.
On the one hand, the stress of working from home can be unbearable to some. It could lead to diminished well-being. On the other, employers may lose engagement, productivity, and loyalty from their employees in the long run.
Therefore, HR must strive to promote a positive and balanced work structure. They should work with the top management in ensuring that employees are completing their deliverables without forgoing sufficient rest.
Also, HR must act as a bridge between employees and managers. That helps address concerns such as pay-cuts, enforced leaves, and other matters affecting their work. Being in charge of ensuring fairness, HR should assert its essential role in decision-making processes that involve the welfare of employees.
Provide Health Insurance
Many employees and employers might be wondering whether businesses are required to provide healthcare insurance. The answer depends on the country and its laws. In the United States, for example, benefits from small employers are voluntary, meaning they’re not legally mandatory. But it is a different story for big employers. If they don’t provide health insurance, they could be penalized under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).
If you’re one of the entrepreneurs who was forced to lay off a few employees, you can still help them obtain health insurance. As long as they’re American citizens, the ACA can back them up. Unemployed individuals may be eligible to enroll in an ACA plan in the fall.
Your uninsured employees may also be allowed to sign up for comprehensive health insurance under the ACA. Find out if your state has opened special enrollment periods so you can inform your employees immediately.
Do Routine Check-ins
The HR department should stand by their role in enforcing fairness and ensuring the well-being of employees. They should explore both short-term and long-term solutions to maintain favorable productivity and contentment levels. But since these times are particularly crucial, HR will do well to double their efforts.
Routine check-ins will help in monitoring the employees’ health and happiness. Emails containing work-from-home tips should also be passed regularly. Spreading encouraging messages will improve the new work culture as well, as it reminds employees that it’s necessary to rest and recharge from time to time.
Compassion might be all companies’ ticket to success during these trying times. Therefore, put your employees’ well-being over their results, and the appreciation, trust, and loyalty you’ll earn from them will be priceless compared to your profits.