Work Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
Although the pandemic has caused disruption in the workforce, it has also provided various opportunities. A recent article in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspective on Science and Practice highlighted a number of ways in which organizations can learn from and improve as a result of the pandemic.
The pandemic has made it difficult for people to balance their work and family lives. Those who have children at home may experience psychological burden because they are trying to balance their time at work and teaching their children. This may cause a decrease in their own work productivity. The authors of the article recommend that companies foster more family-friendly cultural norms and attitudes. Companies should also support resources that are family-friendly.
The pandemic has demonstrated to many companies that traditional “brick and mortar” positions can successfully be done through telecommuting. The authors highlight research that suggests that minimal differences exist between those that telecommute and those that work in the office. Differences that exist favor telecommuters. Telecommuters have higher job satisfaction, lower stress, and lower turnover. The authors suggest that organizations should consider permanently allowing some jobs to be done remotely post-pandemic.
Job and Financial Insecurity
The pandemic forced many companies to lay off or furlough employees. The authors recommend that organizations reduce costs while still helping employees manage their financial security. There are many ways to do this. Companies can expand their sick leave policies, continue to pay employees despite closures, or continue to pay furloughed employees’ health insurance.
The authors suggest that companies seek leaders with a particular skill set to navigate during times of crisis. They also emphasize the importance of crisis management in leadership training. Leaders should also be encouraged to take care of their own health as well as the health of their employees.
Occupational Health and Safety
The pandemic has also made job stressors more intensified, particularly those working in healthcare. These individuals work in hazardous work environments and have extremely high workloads. The authors suggest organizations provide infection control training, prepare for negative experiences, build team cohesion/social support and enhance communication/coping strategies.
Rudolph, C. W., Allan, B., Clark, M., Hertel, G., Hirschi, A., Kunze, F., Shockley, K., Shoss, M., Sonnentag, S., & Zacher, H. (2020). Pandemics: Implications for Research and Practice in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice.