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Pathik B. Variya - Assistant Professor, Centre for Management Studies, D D University, Nadiad, India


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Workers health and safety will be more important in the post COVID19 world. It will also have to be something, where past practices related to workers health and safety may not be enough

You must have read many times by now that, the history of the world that we live in, will now be divided into two parts: 1. Pre - COVID19 and 2. Post - COVID19. It has affected everything we do and the way we are. And it will continue to do so. No doubt, it will shape the way we live, each aspect of our existence.



This crisis will lead to many crises. It will change everything we know about PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) framework. We are already witnessing a sea change in the way we greet each other. Handshakes have been replaced with a Namaste or a "Hi". Masks are common. Social distancing is a new norm.



This will also affect all the HR practices in general. First, Work from Home (WFH), will be viewed very normally. Companies like TCS are looking at a scenario where 75% of people will be working from home in future . For the companies, it will be a big money saver as it will require very less investment in real estate and infrastructure of offices in long run. Of course, Work from Home will require new policies as the behaviour of employees in this mode of work will be different. For example, the way productivity is measured will be very different. Different people will be working at different times - some are more productive in early morning while some will be more productive during day time. These issues will have to be addressed in the HR policy.



The social media will become more important . Email communication will become even less important, though many people doubt that it will ever die completely. It may stay with social media as a means of communication, like SMS has survived the onslaught of WhatsApp like messengers. But email will have to share the space with social media. The written communication, will, then, of course become, more informal and direct. Bureaucratic overtones in formal communication like, "I hope this email finds you in the pink of your health" may simply become the part of history. Salutations, complimentary close etc will be buried in the obsolete books of business communication.



COVID19 will also affect the labour laws and workers' rights. As the article referred to below (no. 6) conveys, the employers will go for more and more fixed term contracts in future. Moonlighting (doing job for extended hours like 9am to 8pm etc) may become a new normal, without extra pay, of course. As work from home becomes a new norm, workers' right of privacy, personal time, vacation, fair treatment at work - all will evolve differently. The labour laws will also have to evolve quickly to deal with these new developments.



Workers' health and safety will be more important in the post COVID19 world. It will also have to be something, where past practices related to workers' health and safety may not be enough. Signboards like "Wash Your Hands Frequently", "Maintain the Social Distance", "Take Care of Respiratory Hygiene" may become more common along with the ones advising the use of gloves and other safety equipment. The employees will also have to take care of burnout and stress and the employers will have to come up with clear cut policies to address these issues as they can adversely affect the productivity of an individual. Things like "Mobile Phone Vacation", "Social Media Vacation" will be included into the perks of the compensation package!



The changes in the area of training will be huge. The training may be conducted online. The biggest problem or feature, whatever you want to call it, of the online training, is that it requires 100% motivation on the part of the trainee. For example, if you look at the people who learn from MOOCS successfully, they are generally the ones, who are motivated from within. Many people find it difficult to learn that way. Other problem is that, many trainees learn from their peers during the training and not only the trainer. That part may be missed in the online training. 



These are some of the things that will change due to COVID19, as far as HRM practices are concerned. But these are only learned assumptions at the most. What awaits is nothing BUT ‘UNKNOWN UNKNOWN’! So, how to deal with that is also an ‘UNKNOWN UNKNOWN’!