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Post-COVID-19 Workforce and HR Strategy: Preparing for the “Next Normal”

CoAdvantage- Is COVID-19 going to permanently reshape the workplace? If so, how?

We’ve already addressed the long-term outlook for remote work, but it’s worth reiterating that work from home options are likely going to be a major part of the employment landscape moving forward. According to a survey from The Hackett Group, virtual work has become part of “what separates post-crisis winners from losers.

Specifically, 72% of companies are shifting toward more remote working as part of their HR strategy, and 68% are training leaders to manage virtually.

But what about other changes to the workplace?

As the pandemic ebbs, many companies may be tempted to memory-hole the entire experience. As a once-in-a-century pandemic, nothing like it may ever recur again in our lifetimes. The problem here, however, is that the pandemic didn’t cause many of the problems that employers have faced over the past year; it exposed them.

Indeed, one potential silver lining for businesses is how the pandemic has highlighted areas of vulnerability. Shoring up those weaknesses and developing a healthier, more resilient “new normal” can position companies to navigate future crises much more gracefully and effectively.


One thing that may help: automation. The Hackett Group also found that low levels of automation may have contributed to problems navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, “low levels of automation were cited by G&A [general and administrative] functions as the biggest factor preventing effective crisis response.”

Workforce Design

Workforce design is another element of the workplace that may need to be revisited. Where employees work (e.g., remote work) is one piece of this question. But employers also need to ensure that they have sufficient workforce capacity and capabilities to weather emergency conditions. They may need to adopt new skills development protocols. They may even need to revisit what workforce model they use. A white paper from Deloitte entitled Future Work Modelsurges employers to think creatively around everything from work schedules to technology to revisiting organizational workflows.

Employee Health & Safety

It’s also worth remembering that COVID-19 and its variants are likely to become a permanent part of the human health landscape moving forward, even if vaccines and improved treatments blunt the impact. Making some long-term changes to the workplace to improve health and safety may thus be necessary. Virginia has already adopted permanent COVID-related workplace safety standards, and other states may follow.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.