The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 one of the hardest ever years for businesses around the world. Although we are not out of the woods yet, we are at a point where we can look forwards and also reflect on how our own businesses have existed throughout 2020. For many, working from home has become the norm, furlough a common buzzword and redundancies have been made; it has been a challenging year. But, with challenges comes lessons.

Our HR departments have, for many, been the pillars of business, helping to co-ordinate staff in a truly unprecedented time. But, in what ways will our HR departments have to adapt in the pandemic’s wake? What lessons have we learnt, what cracks have emerged and what can we do to be better?

Increase focus on wellness

With such a turbulent year almost behind us that has affected everyone in the UK in some form, making sure to increase the company focus on wellness and staff wellbeing is essential. This year we have seen some unparalleled and hard situations and many people have found that it has taken a toll on their mental health.

Before, employers might have taken to being hands-off with staff mental health however that no longer feels as though it will cut it. Now, companies and their HR departments need to find ways to support staff wellness and have resources in place should a member of staff need help.

READ MORE: Supporting your staff’s mental health in a post-COVID world

Find new ways to increase staff morale

For many businesses, 2020 has seen a sharp increase in working from home and flexible working hours. Where this can be beneficial for myriad reasons, it can also mean that staff lose that team feeling and are much more isolated. Whereas before a quick meeting or team lunch might have done the job, with staff working remotely and sometimes unusual hours it can be harder to increase team morale and bring staff together.

In light of these changes, businesses will have to find new ways to increase staff morale remotely and promote a sense of team unity among employees who are working in isolation. This could be by increasing face-to-face video calls, when the time is right embracing a mixed workweek with office days and working from home days and even organising some informal, digital work events to give employees time to unwind together.

Improve business technology

As well as a heightened focus on staff wellness and morale, HR staff need to ensure that the business technology they currently have in place is working for them and all company employees. Flexible working and remote working can both have different requirements to normal day-to-day office work and the technology that once sufficed may now be causing a hindrance.

As well as looking at how business technology is working for employees, HR staff should also look closer to home and make sure that they have the best tools for the job moving forward. COVID-19 has put a whole new strain on HR departments and with that increased pressure there should be adaptation.

From iTrent Payroll to ResourceLink, HR technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years and having the best tools for the job is essential in making sure every task is done professionally and efficiently.

These are just three of the areas where HR departments have to adapt in the pandemic’s wake to meet the new normal. With changes in day-to-day working life, potential staff changes and businesses being hit by the pandemic in other ways, making sure to change with the times and focus on adaptation is the only way HR departments can be at the top of their game moving forward.

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