Pandemics have historically caused significant damage to the global economy as they affect the quality and limit human interaction, which in turn affects the different aspects of business operations. The detection and spread of the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) from Wuhan, China to the rest of the globe has brought with it significant negative health outcomes that have led to most countries declaring a lockdown or state of emergency (New Scientist Ltd., 2020, United Nations (UN), 2020). Pandemics, such as the COVID-19, introduce a significant challenge to the human resource (HR) function in business since the pandemic and the resultant situation negatively affect the department’s most valuable assets, i.e., staff or employees. Human resource managers today are faced with a significant challenge that requires the development of unique strategies best suited for the organization or the adoption of existing best-practices strategies.
As many countries declare a state of emergency and place bans and limits on human interaction, human resource managers have to be innovative enough to maintain operations, retain its workforce, and play their duty in fighting COVID-19. As such, human resource managers must seek alternatives to the conventional office setup. Teleworking provides the best plausible solution, as it not only allows companies to maintain their operations (Hai-Jew, 2014) but also plays a significant role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, teleworking allows the organization to retain a reasonable level of motivation, as employees are more motivated when they have to worry less about their immediate family. Teleworking allows employees to achieve a good sense of work-life balance amid the fears of the effects of COVID-19.
One significant trend associated with the global spread of COVID-19 is the decline in face-to-face interactions and the increase in digital communication. To stay abreast of the global situation, most people have leveraged the advantages associated with modern computing technology and used online communication tools, such as video conferencing, Voice over IP (VoIP), email, chats, blogs, and other online forums (Blount & Gloet, 2017). As such, COVID-19 has inadvertently accelerated digital transformation globally, especially in companies. Human resource managers have to adapt to the changing environment and fast-track digital transformation within their organizations by purchasing, adopting and implementing online communication tools to enhance communication between the organization and its employees in different geographical locations. Digital transformation is not only vital to adapting to the changing business environment but also to fast track trends designed to improve overall efficiency and productivity of the business environment.
In conclusion, the global COVID-19 pandemic has introduced significant changes to the global business environment, which has forced companies to rethink their business models to remain operational and profitable. The limitations and bans placed on face-to-face interactions introduce significant challenges for the human resource function. Teleworking provides the best alternative to the traditional office setup. It not only allows companies to adapt to the changing business environment but also play a vital role in the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. As such, one could argue that the global COVID-19 virus has fast-tracked the changes and trends that existed in human resource management.
Blount, Y., & Gloet, M. (2017). Anywhere Working and the New Era of Telecommuting. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
Hai-Jew, S. (2014). Remote Workforce Training: Effective Technologies and Strategies. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
New Scinetist Ltd. (2020, March). Covid-19. Retrieved from NewScientist.com: https://www.newscientist.com/term/covid-19/
United Nations (UN). (2020, March 16). China shows COVID-19 Coronavirus can be ‘stopped in its tracks’. Retrieved from UN.org: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059502