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They say that when great evil occurs, great good follows. The past fourteen months have been the most evil to humanity.
Governments around the world weren’t prepared to handle the unprecedented pandemic, let alone corporations. But we have learned our lessons, and painfully so.
The resilience within has always helped us turn the situation around for the better. Besides making peace with the situation, each one of us is trying our best to stay afloat and keep moving. Certain trends that evolved in the last year were always needed – the pandemic made them indispensable. Now, we do not have a choice but to adjust and adapt to those changes.
Here are the top 8 trends bred by the pandemic that are here to stay.
1. Remote Working
There always was a need for remote working options, but the pandemic brought it forth as the only option for survival. Now, it is not just multinationals but also start-ups that are switching to remote working as a permanent option for their employees. It has given many Indians the option to go back to their hometowns without being absent for work. It has also proven to be a blessing for new parents and parents with young children.
Now, a person in a tier-3 city can conveniently look for employment with a multinational in Mumbai.
2. Mental Health Coverage
As a side-effect, remote working blurred the boundaries between work and life, thus causing employees distress. In the past year, corporates have realised the significance of mental health for their employees and have started taking measures to improve it. This could be a significant step towards recognising mental illness as any other medical condition.
Here are some measures organisations have taken:
- Educating employees about the significance of mental health
- Providing mental health coverage in employee health insurance schemes
- Regular mental health check-ups for employees
- Providing assistance from mental health professionals at the workplace
3. Recruitment Process Changes
The pandemic forced organisations to change their recruitment and HR policies. From interviewing to onboarding, everything is being done online now. Candidates are also in preference of companies that offer the option to work from home.
4. Policy Overhauling
A remote working scenario means additional costs to employees, such as smooth internet access and a proper workstation. Some organisations have introduced mechanisms to absorb these costs for their employees.
5. Emotions Over Intelligence
This is a time when one’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) matters more than their technical skills. This trend is driving the way corporations are recruiting and operating as well.
6. Focus On Frontline Workers
For organisations operating especially in the B2C domain for essential services, frontline workers are the sole driving force. The pandemic has shifted the focus to these workers. For instance, Zomato has started offering additional discounts to customers who offer good tips to their delivery partners.
7. Leave Structure Changes
Companies are providing leaves to employees who are grappling with COVID-19 induced sickness in their families. Leaves are provided to the employees who have contracted the illness, or to those who need to take care of a sick family member.
8. Hazard Pay
A few months back, a Whole Foods employee in the US shot a mass email asking the company to include a ‘hazard pay’ policy for the inconvenience caused to frontline workers who served customers directly during the pandemic and put their lives at risk. This soon became a trend and many companies, especially in the US, started giving hazard pay to their frontline workers.
In countries like India where the concepts of mental wellness and EQ never made it to the board room, the pandemic has created a desperate need to reimagine everything. While we grapple with the damage that the pandemic has caused in our lives, let us welcome the changes that are here to make it a tad better.
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