How has COVID-19 Changed Workforce Management?

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How has COVID-19 Changed Workforce Management?

The workplace has been transforming so rapidly over the past 3 months: at the beginning of 2020, it was almost impossible for us to even imagine a reality so different from what we had towards the end of 2019. And yet, here we are, with our new habits and changed working environments.

These days, working from home has become the new normal, and we’ve gone from digitizing the relationship between firm and customer to digitizing the relationship between employer and employee.

We have been catapulted forward, fast-tracking trends such as automation, digitalization, and innovation.

Companies are now at a crossroads: those that capitalize on post-COVID opportunities will find themselves in a good position to retain top talent and attract people when the situation stabilizes. By contrast, those that fail to change will be left behind, exposing their employees to increased risks of financial distress, facing layoffs and closures.

But what changes should be on their radar?


The implementation of a rapid reskilling system


If employees are taught how to build a learning mindset, it will prepare them well for dealing with a constant, even sometimes abrupt, changing environment.

The quick adoption of new, advanced technology is the central catalyst and is likely to lead to an acceleration in the creation of new roles. Changes in workload during the pandemic have sometimes resulted in an imbalance of resource allocation. Reskilling and upskilling can help employees move from one part of the business to another.


Changing leadership and management competences


The COVID-19 crisis sent shockwaves through industries and economies, but perhaps its greatest impact has been the human one, namely fear and uncertainty. A big part of this has been the fact we have a totally new routine – one in which everyone who can suddenly work from home.

There’s no blueprint for what we’re facing and business leaders around the world are changing strategies to keep up.

In tandem with honing digital skills and improved infrastructure, it is necessary that corporate culture and leadership skills focus on empathy as transformation and disruptions become the new normal.


Openness, Transparency & Trust


This period has required us all to be supportive of one another, as we all face uncertainty. Control has to some extent given way to trust. People are learning how to do work disparately and with far less oversight: they are learning “on the job” what works and what doesn’t work at home, and holding virtual meetings that might have happened before but never to such an extent.

Ironically, in the midst of social distancing, many of us are now closer. We are building more adaptable teams, more regularly in touch with one another and connection has become a priority in the name of working remotely. But beyond that, we are connected with purpose and as a community!

Employee communities both literally and figurately will be one of the biggest changes we predict in the months and years to come


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Individual and social wellbeing


The pandemic and lockdown are putting pressure on employees in ways that not only test their wellbeing and private lives but also that of our society as a whole.

The World Health Organization recently found that 45% of health workers in China are suffering from anxiety, while the prevalence of depression in Ethiopia trebled in April alone. Coronavirus has created an opportunity for the global workforce to learn how to adapt to a crisis such as this one when it comes to tackling mental health issues.

Many companies are rebalancing their priorities, so that resilience becomes just as important to their strategic thinking as cost and efficiency, and there’s really no way out of this: employees must be protected at all costs!


Agile is the way


It is unprecedented to have a large cohort of people, all over the world, start working remotely at once. The events as they have unfolded have shown how fast we can adapt though, and have demonstrated that we can move faster and act in more agile ways than we thought.

Business leaders now have, in some sense, been gifted with a better idea of what can and cannot be done outside their companies’ traditional processes, and COVID-19 is forcing both the pace and scale of workplace innovation. Many are finding simpler, faster, and less expensive ways to operate.

All of this points to our innate ability to change and to move away from prescribed approaches and standardized solutions. COVID-19 is a catalyst to reinvent the future of work and create opportunities for companies to look at things differently!



Our ability to recognize and proactively equip our teams with not just physical resources, but skills, mindsets, behaviors, and values, will be critical in ensuring that we rebuild. The rebuild will be different, yes, but it may just be, better.

How is your company dealing with these concerns at this moment in time?




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