If there’s a silver lining to the Covid cloud, it is how it has catapulted us towards the 4th Industrial Revolution. A revolution epitomised by trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and “disruptive” technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and augmented reality.
In an odd turn of events, it was 4th revolution tools that came to our aid when the truly disruptive virus turned our world upside down. It was, and still is, technology that enabled us to carry on our work, our studies, and our relationships.
While there will come a time when Covid is no longer with us, some things are never going back to the way they were. Especially in the workplace, where there are at least three evolving trends to challenge HR professionals.
Workplace Trend #1 – Office Size, Layout and Interactions Are Forever Changed
It’s unlikely the majority of workplaces will remain fully remote post-pandemic. But what most have realised is that offices can be smaller, hybrid versions of what they used to be. Even those people coming into the office will be there less consistently – most likely on a “hot desk-type” basis. And 5G wireless network technology, which makes latency a non-issue, is only going to accelerate this move to remote workforces.
But are you geared up for managing a virtual and physical collaboration structure? Consider the following implications;
The past months have proven the productivity of telecoms tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and Microsoft’s Teams. Businesses have realised there’s seldom a need for teams to meet face-to-face. Such apps will remain the platforms for group messaging and collaboration going forward (and will continue to need investment).
A remote workforce means work systems need to be available on the internet. With the maturation of cloud-based technology, there’s no reason to have servers in-house. Cloud-based solutions, like the JustLogin HR management system, are affordable and flexible. With no capital expenditure, you’re not forced to stick with products that no longer suit your needs.
At the office, old biometric systems will need to be replaced by contactless clock-in systems. These systems offer features like contactless temperature scanning, facial recognition access, mask control and integrated attendance monitoring all in one.
For remote workers, real-time visibility will be required to track attendance and location. Are you able to track your workforce with AI facial recognition, in real-time wherever they are?
Routine HR functions like leave management and payroll must all cater to remote workers. You will need to be able to approve, schedule and manage employee leave remotely. And obviously you will have to handle the full salary cycle digitally online – no more handing out physical payslips!
Workplace Trend #2 – Measuring and Managing Organisation and Employee Productivity in a Remote Environment
If to date, the HR role has been mostly administrative, remote working changes that. Now the challenge is to measure and manage the productivity of a workforce that is not physically situated with management.
This elevates HR to the position of a strategic business partner to decision-makers, that must provide new remote solutions to;
Onboarding – how are new employees inculcated into the culture of the organisation when they might never physically meet with their colleagues?
Training – how are training needs assessed and addressed remotely?
Redundancy planning – are employees equipped to pick up the slack for their colleagues on leave, now that they’re no longer seated next to them?
Data-driven performance measurement and management – what tools can be used to measure, manage and motivate employee performance remotely? Look, for example, for performance appraisal systems based in the cloud. They should allow you to provide continuous feedback and agree to goals with employees remotely. You will thus be able to monitor the more intangible aspects of performance that are not addressed by employee attendance systems and suchlike.
Secure and organised data storage – how do you provide employee privacy but ensure information is accessible when needed? Cloud-based HR management systems free you up to spend time on people instead of paperwork.
Workplace Trend #3 – Blurring of Lines between “Personal Life” and “Work-Life” for Employees
When we work from home, the lines between our private and work lives are easily blurred. Employee feedback tells us this is a price people are willing to pay for the increased flexibility and reduced commuting time. This win/win situation does, however, place a burden on HR.
HR must find tools to assess employee welfare remotely. It’s easy when we see people every day to notice the small things that tell us when they’re disengaged, stressed, tired or ill. Time tracking tools like Toggl, Hubstaff and Justlogin become essential to ensure employees are not overworking or unreasonably off due to illness. (We predict a blending of Healthtech and HRTech in the next few years.)
At the same time, HR must continue to enhance the employee experience, especially for new Gig/On-demand economy employees. Part-time employment brings challenges in terms of tying up productivity to pay, which can be addressed with technology. But remember, this is a generation that has grown up with the Internet of Things. Invest in solutions that are mobile-enabled, or you won’t retain them.
The future business will be a mix of hybrid and remote workers that are going to require cloud-based solutions that are mobile-enabled. The question decision-makers must ask themselves is – are you ready?
Get started on cloud-based HR with JustLogin
JustLogin is a suite of cloud-based HR applications that helps small to mid-sized businesses automate their payroll, leave, attendance, expense and benefit management. We’ve helped thousands of businesses achieve increased productivity and better employee experience – no matter if they are working from an office, at a restaurant, in a retail shop, at a warehouse facility, or of course, even working from home. Give JustLogin a try today at justlogin.com/free-trial.