Since most of the country went remote in March of 2020, many companies have not only adjusted but completely changed their business models to meet the needs of a global crisis. Relationships between employer and employee and amongst cooperating companies have changed, best practices have adapted, and many aspects of business will never return to a pre-Covid “normal.” The effects of Covid-19 are still ongoing and unknown, but one thing is certain, the world of business is forever changed.
The initial shutdown brought fewer hours for workers, wage cuts, and layoffs in many sectors of the economy. Companies weren’t prepared for the drastic shift in day-to-day procedure and lack of time necessary to successfully make a change. After nearly two years of living through the pandemic, companies have started to reach a new sense of normalcy and leading the way… better treatment of employees.
Owners and managers have recognized the importance of employee retention and a large part of maintaining workers is keeping them happy. The cost of losing an experienced employee can often be greater than yearly raises, more PTO, and a holiday bonus. In addition to higher pay, workers have also received more remote opportunities and an increase in flexible work hours. If an employee needs to travel to a medical facility like Northwest Surgery Center for a procedure, companies have pivoted to allow for more flexibility and time off. Workers being able to take care of their needs while still maintaining full employment encourages loyalty and retention. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 25% of establishments have increased flexibility in working hours while nearly 35% have increased telework opportunities altogether.
It’s not just workers that have seen major changes in the business world, company policies and procedures have taken drastic turns as well. When in-person meetings were not an option, virtual meetings took over the role. While several companies have returned to face-to-face gatherings, many chose to maintain the virtual environment. Zoom meetings have been found to be useful and convenient for group communication regardless of location or time of day.
Meetings aren’t alone on the chopping block, as national and international travel has also taken a hit. Obvious travel restrictions early on resulted in an overall reduction in the need for employees to get on a plane. Because of advanced technology that allows for all sorts of data sharing, traveling to on-site locations is no longer always a requirement. Finally, perhaps the greatest policy change might be the requirement of the Covid Vaccine. Not every company has chosen to require the vaccine however, some were not given the choice due to stipulations set by the federal government. Regardless of individual company policy, it is a sticky situation that many employers are choosing to address.
There is no doubt about it, the response to Covid-19 has changed the workforce for the foreseeable future. From daily routines to vaccination requirements, companies have adjusted their standards and proven their ability to pivot successfully, even during a global pandemic.