Article written by Jake Burke for and originally published HR Grapevine
Technology that enables more effective remote working was already evolving at a rapid rate. HR & Recruitment technologies dramatic move to the cloud in the last few years is evidence of that.
Working from home during the Covid Crisis has proven to be the preferred choice for many employees; thanks to the savings made on having no commute, more time with family, friends and pets and working in a safe environment away from the virus, it’s, therefore, no surprise that so many now want to continue working from home in some capacity.
This has been reflected in recent data shared by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on behalf of The i. In a survey of 2,500 people, it found that 40% of UK employees are still shunning the office in favour of their homes.
Of course, these changes were not decided by employers or employees, as the Government instructed workers to stay at home and work there where possible in order to stop the spread of the virus. Due to this, the pandemic has forced HR teams and employers to embrace new technologies, accelerating digital transformation within businesses all over the UK.
While this change has been somewhat forced, findings in Sage’s The changing face of HR report found that 18% of HR leaders believe they have successfully transitioned from focussing on HR processes being truly employee-centric.
Speaking to HR Grapevine, Jessica Fuhl, HR Evangelist, at Sage People, shared that the workplace has been able to successfully transform, but added that to manage these changes, HR must ‘adapt in tandem’.
“Since the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the working world to change overnight, the ‘workplace’ has evolved into something more distributed and flexible. Yet, to manage these changes successfully, HR must adapt in tandem,” she explained. “To ensure employees are supported remotely, organisations need an unprecedented understanding of employees, their skills and circumstances.”
Making the transition
Pre-coronavirus, some businesses may have been reluctant to embrace new tech and flexible working arrangements – research from Tiger Recruitment in 2019 echoed this. The recruitment firm discovered that one-third of UK workers are unhappy with the flexible options available to them. In the study of 2,000 employees, just a third shared that they have the option of remote working.
Sage’s recent report also found that eight in ten respondents thought that a transformation of this kind following the pandemic would take up to ten years, however, it’s clear that businesses do not have this luxury to take the time to input a new transformation. This is echoed by Fuhl, who added: “It’s clear now that organisations don’t have this much time on their hands.”
To make a transition possible, Fuhl explained that new technologies are the answer, indicating that HR teams should lean on automation, cloud and mobile tech to support the workforce during this uncertain time where employees are based all over the place. She pointed out that harnessing these tools can ensure organisations become more adaptive in this new way of working.
She said: “New technologies can help organisations navigate the uncertainty and elevate their workforce in a quicker timeframe than ten years. Automation, mobile and cloud are just some of the tools that can streamline core HR admin, and help HR and people teams become more adaptive, flexible and agile in today’s changing world.”
Fuhl also shared that the power lies with the “change-leaders in organisations”, who now have the ability to truly transform a business to become successful in the face of constant change and disruption.
“The power is now in the hands of change-leaders in organisations as they have an enormous opportunity to harness the latest tools to emerge more resilient, adaptive, agile and stronger from this crisis,” she concluded.