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Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, businesses across the world have had to come to terms with the massive impact of the pandemic. Top medical officials are encouraging social distancing to slow the spread of the virus which has forced companies to have their entire workforce work from home. 

While having employees work remotely is by no means a new phenomenon, completely shifting an entire company to remote working can pose serious challenges. Often, companies have no infrastructure in place for such a shift of this magnitude. In this article, we’ll take a look at how different companies are responding to the outbreak, and how infrastructure for a mass shift like this can support such a transition. 

A New Reality Requires An Organizational Response

On/Off Boarding

One common response to the outbreak has been mass layoffs. Companies like Oyo, ZipRecruiter, and TripActions have all terminated large numbers of staff as a result of the economic downturn.

But while many industries are suffering as a result of the outbreak, there are some – like healthcare providers, pharmacies, and specific retailers – that are being called upon to respond with increased services. This uptick in demand has led to an expansion of their workforce.

CVS Pharmacy announced that it would hire 50,000 new employees and give bonuses to those currently employed. Part-time employees of the retail and healthcare chain will also receive access to 24 hours of paid sick leave, in addition to the 14-day paid leave for those who test positive for the virus.

Similarly, Amazon plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery employees in the U.S. as millions of people flock to the online retail giant to provide their necessities without leaving the house. 

Walmart also announced that it would pay cash bonuses totaling $550 million to its hourly staff as well as hire 150,000 temporary staffers as they scramble to manage the outbreak-inspired shopping frenzy.

Companies that are able to function despite the coronavirus setbacks need to keep their on/off boarding workflows relatively smooth, despite not being able to do it in-person. Companies have had to build their own organizational responses to these challenges.

Remote Working

The overwhelming response of many companies has been to have their employees work from home. This transition has been easier for companies who already offered remote working as a possibility. 

Google, for example, told all North American employees that they would be working from home at least until April 10. The company further blocked all external visitors from coming into some of its offices, including their New York campus as well as their headquarters in California. Twitter made a similar announcement. 

IBM, a company that famously ended the possibility of remote-working three years ago, began having its employees work from home due to the outbreak as well. Today, almost all organizations – besides for essential industries – have their workforce working remotely, which requires a unique organizational approach.

Tracking Productivity

It can be a major challenge for companies to track the productivity of employees scattered throughout their respective homes. This has forced many companies to shift their primary communications to platforms such as Zoom or Slack. Primarily communication platforms, these are also being used as makeshift ways to track productivity. 

While the specific platform may vary, what’s becoming clear is that companies are having to address productivity and engagement in a completely new way.  

Maintaining Company Culture

A decentralized workforce can also have a significant impact on company culture. It’s challenging to reinforce culture, look after employees, promote engagement and communicate effectively. Organizations are dealing with this in various ways; Steyer Content, a Seattle-based marketing company, has been hosting remote happy hours for their employees to go some way towards addressing these challenges.

Develop An Infrastructure For Remote Work

Social distancing policies have demanded foundational changes to company cultures and business methods worldwide. Those changes can come in the form of onboarding or layoffs; remote work or unpaid leave; pivoting or continuing on. It’s clear, however, that companies need to be able to respond effectively in order to survive. 

The various responses we have seen all have something in common; they’re all centered around the employee. This means that companies need to ensure their HR teams are involved in their coronavirus strategy and response at every level. Making sure that HR is fully equipped is critical to ensuring that the organizational response to the outbreak is efficient and effective. 

This could mean remotely onboarding massive amounts of employees, or remotely putting employees on leave as the case may be, in addition to overseeing huge workforces that have suddenly started working from home.

A Fully-Capable And Flexible HR Hub

To develop an infrastructure that will support your company infrastructure through the challenges brought about by the coronavirus, a powerful and flexible HR Suite like Mensch is essential. 

Mensch’s Workflows module is indispensable when it comes to managing a remote workforce. It allows your HR team to reduce daily follow-ups with employees while still increasing engagement. It seamlessly allows data to be centralized with custom workflows which can also manage swaths of remote-work tasks, such as on/offboarding, sending out notifications and alerts, and other HR-related task management operations.

However your organization decides to respond to the coronavirus outbreak – as well as other challenges in the future – Mensch is there to ensure your organization can respond effectively.. 
To find out more about how Mensch can support your organization or to schedule a demo, click here.

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