The General Role of HR Professionals
In a company, you are going to find accountants, GMs, team leaders, policy analysts, and HR professionals. However, previously HR professionals were often the most underrated roles in a company as they are often perceived as the ones solely responsible for the hiring and firing of staff. Though this is true, given the recent global events, there has been a recent surge in the responsibilities of HR professionals' role and impact on dealing with the back to work challenge.
Nowadays, HR professionals are playing a more hands-on approach with companies as they transition from being entirely remote to returning to the office.
How HR Professionals Assist with Back to Work
Many companies are finding themselves dealing with the back-to-office challenge. Though they are struggling with having an idea of what this transition from remote work to in-office work is going to look like, HR professionals are coming to the rescue. In one way, HR professionals are showing that there can be a balance achieved between remote and office work, also referred to as a hybrid.
HR advisors and consultants are addressing the back to work challenge of companies by guiding them through the unknown territories. They are helping organizations examine the various hybrid work models that would benefit them and show them the benefits and realities that indicate the future of remote work is here to stay. Given these new realities, companies who did not have active or the resources to help are now seeking HR professionals as advisors to help provide their experience and knowledge in ensuring that their company does not falter in the transition.
Challenges of Back to Work
What are some of the back-to-office challenges that HR professionals are dealing with within an organization regarding back to work?
Health and Safety
Given the pandemic and the grave health concerns, many employees may find themselves reluctant to return to the office. At the same time, employers may not be sure how to address these health and safety concerns. HR advisors can provide guidance and assistance in explaining the companies' rights to having their employees return to work and the employees' rights to either accept or refuse to return to work.
HR professionals can often provide consultations and recommendations to ensure the balance between addressing safety concerns and ensuring a company's business operations.
Remote or In-Office Preference
With over a year spent working remotely; some employees may find themselves preferring to work remotely for an indefinite amount of time. On the other hand, there are going to be some employees who would not be more excited about the prospect of a return to the office. With a decision like this, management and an HR advisor can develop a proper workspace layout management and schedule to ensure the safety and guidelines for a safe return to work. This collaboration can also help address any concerns or back-to-work challenges that employers or employees have.
With a hybrid work model, productivity tracking is going to be more essential now than ever. Why? HR is going to want to demonstrate that pursuing a hybrid work model is sustainable and that a business's productivity won't be affected. Employees who choose to go into the office, their productivity can be tracked easily. Those who choose remote work may pose a bit of a back-to-office challenge for management and critical leadership skillset; however, using software and providing resources can help those in these roles lead their new remote or hybrid team. This is where an HR professional can provide their take as well as guidance. They can demystify the stigma that workers who choose to work from home are not productive compared to their in-office counterparts. This is big for companies who are wary of remote or hybrid work arrangements.
Hiring and Staffing
The global pandemic changed a lot from business operations to people's overall mindset on life. HR professionals are finding themselves adapting to the new best practices of hiring and staffing and recognizing that many are choosing to work from home rather than return to work.
When things began to reopen, a back-to-work challenge for many HR professionals was the hiring and staffing of employees who may have lost their job or are now looking for work but want to be remote. HR is navigating how best to support and lead companies through this, as traditionally, businesses are hired locally as the job required them to work in the office.
HR professionals have and are responsible for the layout of desks and chairs. In addition, they have the responsibility of working with management to create and determine a proper in-office structure. One approach that businesses are looking at is hoteling stations, allowing employees to come into the office on a part-time or as-needed basis. Hoteling stations are typical for companies that offer shared spaces, as it is cost-effective and does not require as much space.
These are just a few of the back to office challenges that HR professionals are dealing with. Depending on the company, there can be more or less challenges that they may encounter as they transition into a new reality of hybrid work.
Pros and Cons of Back to Work
A few pros and cons of back to work include:
Pros of Back to Work
- In-person meetings and gatherings
- Business sustainability
Cons of Back to Work
- Safety concerns
- Preference for remote work
These are just a few pros and cons; depending on the organization, there may be more pros and cons depending on the business operations.
Many have found themselves adapting and dealing with the many back-to-work challenges that come with over a year of remote work due to the pandemic. Employees have had to cope with managing a work-life balance, while business owners have had to wait and anticipate the return to normal business operations. Regardless of what has been happening, the one thing that remains true is that HR professionals have been part of the process from start to finish. They have and continue to play an active role in ensuring the safety of their colleagues and associates. It is recommended to take use of some hybrid work solutions like Autonomous Hybrid to streamline the tasks and easily manage the hybrid workspace. The future return to work lies with the dedication and work of HR professionals.
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