The last year has changed how we think about work and travel immensely, among all the other aspects of life. COVID-19 effectively upended how the world works, and led to people having to adjust to a ‘new normal’. From strict lockdown rules to online schooling, life as we know it has basically changed. This change has affected everything, from how people travel to how they get their groceries, and even how they socialize with friends and family. In the span of just a few months, the internet became the primary space for everyone to interact, learn, shop, and work.

Workplaces in particular have been particularly hit by these changes. Lockdown and quarantine rules meant that whoever could work from home was doing so. This new trend of remote work as the primary working platform meant that internet connections became a necessary asset. Everyone rushed to sign up for good deals such as the ones offered by Spectrum mobile plans. In addition, the whole recruitment process was also revamped, as it had to be done online. This has created a new set of opportunities and challenges for HR departments. These include a number of expected changes in the coming year, some of which are good, and some of which will prove to be quite challenging.

The Good:

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a lot of interesting, yet positive trends taking hold in the HR sector.

Flexible Workplaces

Remote work is one of the best trends that will be even more popular in 2021. With more people getting vaccinated, this might shift to a hybrid home and office model, but many employers now realize the value of a flexible workplace. It leads to more work-life balance for employees, less full-day leaves, and general satisfaction.

In addition, people who were considering leaving their jobs for personal commitments like parenthood or housework can rethink their decision if they have the option to work from home. 

Attention To Mental Health

The pandemic led to a mental health crisis on a whole other scale. This was exacerbated by the sense of isolation many people felt during the lockdown. Workplaces also learned to tackle mental health issues in a more productive manner.

A positive HR trend to expect in 2021 is more focus on mental health awareness and more support from the workplace in this regard. Some companies have even started offering separate leaves for mental health situations.

More Inclusivity & Social Consciousness

As the world is now even more connected online, inclusivity is a no-brainer. It might seem ridiculous that it has taken a pandemic for many companies to realize this, but with more online interactions, there is more awareness about how to interact with each other. 

Any conversations with a racist, sexist, ableist, or discriminatory slant will be penalized even more seriously in 2021, as various movements in 2020 and previous years have cemented the fact that discriminating on any basis is not okay. In addition, with the social responsibility involved in controlling the pandemic, workplaces will also run more social consciousness programmes, for both their employees and for marketing purposes.

The Bad:

In a post-lockdown world, there will be numerous inequalities which will become even more apparent. This is because companies had to make tough HR decisions due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Vaccine Politics

This might become one of the stickiest issues in the coming months. Companies may make it mandatory for their employees to be vaccinated, particularly in the retail sector. However, this may also give employees grounds to sue companies if they do not want the vaccine. HR departments will have to navigate vaccine politics very delicately, and facilitate employees who want to get vaccinated.

Wider Wage Gaps

As many companies faced economic slowdowns in the beginning of the pandemic, there were massive layoffs. However, later, many companies regeared their strategies and earned quite a bit. This revenue was not translated in people’s wages, though. The HR sector will have to deal with this rising inequality and the associated dissatisfaction employees will express.

This has already started in big companies, with employees demanding unionization and higher minimum wages. This will be quite a major challenge in the coming years, and companies will need to navigate it properly. 

Less Job Security

As remote work is now common, many companies will resort to working with freelancers or hiring people on a contract basis. They will try to save HR costs involved in hiring permanent employees and giving them regular pay raises and other benefits.

This will reduce job security in the market, and the HR sector will have to gear itself more towards the freelancing culture instead of nurturing permanent employees.

In conclusion, the post-pandemic world will bring a whole new set of opportunities and challenges for HR policy makers. We just have to wait and see whether they change the sector for the better or not.