When COVID-19 hit our economy, workplaces were focused on reacting and responding (often in real time) to address and mitigate the fallout to their business and workforce. The toll on both has been substantial. Every workplace and every worker has been impacted, and industries like retail and hospitality and low- and moderate-income workers have borne the brunt.
Now as more states begin easing restrictions, we seem to be entering a new phase: a return to work and transformation. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for employers and HR teams to rethink traditional benefits and support ecosystems. It also highlights the importance of managing that transformation using the lens of financial health.
Before COVID-19, only 29% of Americans were financially healthy. The resulting COVID-19 financial shock almost certainly does not improve financial health, especially for those workers who were already struggling. This means that the financially vulnerable are not just in the workforce—they are the workforce.
As our economy and our workplaces reopen, it will be important to think through the strategies and programs that can help workers recover from this shock and soften the blow of future financial disruptions. Given the prior and current state of financial health, building a financially resilient workforce is more important now than ever.
While the timeline associated with this reopening phase remains uncertain, every workplace will have to navigate three key stages. We outline some of the considerations for each of those stages below, with an eye toward financial health. This crisis has highlighted and exacerbated the financial health challenges that many workers were already facing.
Stage 1: Helping Workers Return to Work
Work is foundational for financial health. It is through work and the workplace that millions of Americans earn income and gain access to other financial health benefits. Therefore, stage one is about reconstituting the workforce, including rehiring those who may have lost their jobs or been placed on furlough.
Organizations will also have a number of practical and strategic decisions to make about how to safely operate. For example, for organizations with brick-and-mortar operations, understanding and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on cleaning, potentially adjusting hours of operation, and training or retraining workers on new safety procedures will be top of mind.
One of the most important decisions will be when, how, and if to migrate away from a distributed workforce (aka “work from home”). Individual circumstances will vary widely, as some workers will have partners or spouses who have been disproportionately impacted, childcare institutions and schools may not be opening at the same time with compatible hours, and personal health issues may also make it harder or impossible for workers to leave home and enter a more public environment. Read more here…
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Source: HR Daily Advisor