This week's round-up of must-read articles about the world of work focuses entirely on Covid-19 and its effects. Circumstances are changing rapidly, and the articles below give you a sense of just how fast.
#1. The challenge of hiring in a pandemic
First, there has been a lot of focus on the people whose jobs are threatened by the pandemic. People in the travel and hospitality industries have been especially hard hit but economic activity hasn’t ceased. People still need to get groceries, either in person or online and so supermarkets are having to hire extra staff to cope with demand, as are online retailers such as Amazon. These moves are not uncontroversial because these workers obviously cannot follow advice to stay at home and practice social distancing. Meanwhile, other companies have to keep in mind life after the virus. With staff working from home, it makes sense that many businesses are carrying out interviews remotely as well.
#2. Managing newly remote workforce
Having a large workforce switch to remote working is a challenge for management. Some companies will find it harder to carry on business as usual. For example, Twitter is having to reconsider its content moderation processes now that its teams are spread out – an issue that is particularly important with so much pandemic misinformation being posted right now. There are useful tips from Business Insider, who asked six CEOs and executives for their take on how to manage remote teams, and Cleveland.com has specific advice for parents on how to work from home and manage children who are no longer in school.
#3. Do not forget about mental health and wellbeing
Those workers who suddenly find themselves working from home might find the experience stressful. Do they have the technology they need and does it all work? Have they got a comfortable workspace in their home? Is it easy to work without distractions from others in the household? And so on. That’s without the added stress of an unfolding pandemic and the uncertainty it brings. As well as providing technical support, companies should look at wellbeing and mental health support. This article gives some tips on danger signs to look for, while companies looking for inspiration could take a look at what Starbucks is doing for its staff.
#4. Businesses helping to overcome the crisis
Many businesses can find ways to help during the crisis. Some companies are looking into how they can help to produce respirators. In the UK, health secretary Matt Hancock has said he has talked to car manufacturers and military engineers about producing respirators before the country runs out. In Italy, meanwhile, a 3D Printer company saved lives by manufacturing 100 respirator valves for a local hospital that had run out. Meanwhile, education companies are making their resources available free, both to help children whose schools have closed and to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities for workers who may find they have more slack in their working day.
#5. Make sure you keep morale up
And finally, amid all the uncertainty, how do we keep morale up? This Forbes article has some good tips, including staying calm in your communications with staff, relaxing policies where necessary to accommodate the challenges that employees will face, and taking action to mitigate risk, such as adding extra hand sanitisers and extending cleaning regimes. Employers have an important role to play in providing people with motivation and a sense of purpose at a time when many of the traditional markers of routine – the commute, the school run, the lunch break, and so on – have been swept away by circumstances.