The coronavirus outbreak has forced almost every business, in every corner of the world, to adapt and improve their procedures immediately.

From remote working to paid sick leave and redundancies, there’s a lot to consider.

HR teams are, by default, on the front of life employers’ response to the COVID-19 crisis — as they try to manage and meet the needs of employees in a manner that also meets the needs of the organisation.

What are some of the current challenges?

Whilst HR teams are used to handling various issues across a business, COVID-19 has brought many new weird and wonderful tweaks to each country.

At PEO Worldwide, we’ve come across a number of HR challenges over the past few months. The key challenge has been keeping up to date with the changing guidelines set out by governments and ruling bodies across the vast portfolio of countries that we offer our services in.

There are a lot of questions to be answered, which won’t necessarily be found in the company handbook.

• What steps can you take to minimise worry for employees and ensure they don’t feel isolated while working remotely?

• If you ask an employee to stay home because of exposure to the virus or it is a mandatory requirement from public health authorities, is it fair to count the incident as absenteeism?

• What type of paid leave options are available for staff if you have to shut down operations?

• Does your employee healthcare benefits scheme cover testing for COVID-19?

• If an employee is quarantined while travelling for business, is the company liable for their expenses throughout that duration?

In terms of cost savings, many clients are also looking to reduce their headcount at this time. However, the speed at which they want to move can cause problems if the correct procedures and protocols aren’t followed.

We exist to provide your business with the right guidance — whatever the crisis or situation. This means helping you to obtain the clarity and patience you need to overcome these challenges and keep employees safe and informed.

How will the outbreak impact future processes?

The outbreak has already changed some HR processes. Going forward, these changes will become more permanent — at least in some areas. It’s, therefore, vital to consider how you’ll guide employees and organisational leadership through these changes.

Remote and flexible working will, undoubtedly, become a permanent feature for more organisations.

As a result, companies will need to look more closely at how and what people are doing daily while working from home. There will be a need for technical changes and greater collaboration between HR, IT, finance and other departments to develop and implement new policies. For example, how will companies monitor and enforce attendance? Who will pay for remote workers’ connectivity and any required equipment such as laptops, monitors or printers?

Then there is also the emotional element of this change for businesses to handle. Mental health is harder to manage when employees are working remotely, so HR teams will have to become more proactive in their role as monitoring and maintaining wellbeing becomes even more crucial.

Communication methods within organisations will also need to be worked on to ensure processes are in place to support mental health and identify issues early. Equally, companies may need to adjust benefits to show remote workers that they are just as committed to their wellbeing as other employees.

Once we have come through the worst of the crisis, businesses will also be keen to establish their value and leaders will need to improve and adapt to how they lead. Companies will need to act quickly on strategic planning and implementation, both of which will rely heavily on the advice and insight only HR can provide.

A PEO is essential to help guide your employees and organisation through change. Given the current COVID-19 situation, these services have never been more crucial. At PEO Worldwide, we know HR isn’t something you can afford to neglect at the moment, which is why we offer a comprehensive and bespoke HR package to suit your current needs. Get in contact today to find out more.