2021 hit companies large and small like a ton of bricks for one obvious reason: the COVID-19 pandemic. Human resource departments worldwide were especially busy trying to manage such things as sick/vacation leave for massive amounts of employees all at once, furloughs, coverage of company medical plans, etc. 2022 looks to be a good year for a rebound but the push for companies to return to pre-pandemic level of output and profitability is likely to only add to an HR department’s workload, not subtract from it. The best HR directors will meet the challenges of 2022 by having a plan ahead of time. Here are some thoughts on how human resources directors can prepare for 2022.
One major thing for 2022 is resolving the many questions related to where the work of a company will actually take place. For those companies that switched to a partial or full work from home setup, when will everyone be going back to the office? Or will the whole company be split up into teams that are brought back one at a time until 100% of the company is back? Is it financially feasible to just lose the many costs associated with having a physical office, especially a big office building, and keep everyone working from home? Instead of losing the office altogether, some companies may keep a physical building but move locations from one that is bigger to one that is smaller.
Human resources directors at many companies need to think not only about their employees but visitors to the office. Will they be required to have a vaccine? Will the company’s employees be required to have a vaccine? Will the company health plan cover necessary medical expenses or will the company need a new health plan? These and more are the many questions that will be answered in 2022, no doubt with some guidance of the courts as the usual flow of lawsuits will be filed here and there on such topics. HR directors will need to work closely with key members of other departments like legal and accounting because these questions are so numerous and complex they will go beyond just human resources.
Human resources departments also play a large role in corporate culture and alongside answering the previously mentioned questions, they will need to reinvigorate employees who: will not be used to working in the office (or may have never worked in the office if they are a new hire), may have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and are generally anxious about how all of the measures used to combat COVID-19 will play out in the long run.