Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

No one ever said driving is easy. But in this liminal phase of the pandemic, between the acute crisis of early 2020 and the promise of a world where coronavirus can be tamed, it is even more difficult than usual. Under such circumstances, managers deserve our sympathy. It’s only been a few weeks since the rise of the Omicron variant forced even the most gung-ho back-to-the-office lawyers to – once again – postpone their plans for a wider reopening of the workplace.

Managers must now thread their human strategy between existing legal requirements, shifting national rules and guidelines on office work and business travel, the turbulent economy of labor shortages and inflation, responsibility towards staff, and the mutating disease itself.

Take into account the overarching need to guarantee a safe workplace for all staff: as the Omicron wave sweeps through companies, some increase the pressure for everyone to be vaccinated unless they can prove they have been released.

A number of U.S. companies have continued to require employees to be fully vaccinated, aided by government leadership. Citigroup takes a particularly strict rule and threatens to fire staff who have not been stabbed or received exemption by the end of the month.

In the UK, companies such as Wessex Water, a utility company, Wm Morrison, the supermarket chain, and the local branch of Ikea, the Swedish furniture group, have adopted policies to sick pay reduced for unvaccinated personnel who need to isolate themselves after contact with Covid-positive cases.

For legal, ethical and practical reasons, corporate encouragement to staff to be vaccinated stay preferred to coercion or a “no stitch, no work” policy. It is easier to see why healthcare professionals need to be vaccinated. But even outside these sensitive sectors, managers, like some governments, are beginning to see a justification for it. controversial policy to protect the collective health of their wider community or simply to maintain adequate staff.

In many sectors, regardless of vaccination or disease policies, hybrid work will continue. The lack of a clear definition of the practice is one challenge that managers face. For every team leader who is upset about the chaos of a poorly managed meeting in which half of the participants are online and half in person there, or worried that domestic workers can diaper, There is another that applauds the productivity benefits available when tasks are appropriately assigned to efficient remote staff or creative personal teams. Either way, implementing truly flexible work requires a significant adjustment in management techniques and a higher level of coordination and communication than office-centered teamwork usually does.

Difficult decisions about how to manage a late-pandemic workforce are informed, but also complicated, by job shortages in many countries, exacerbated by a spate of resignations as the lock-up tired staff retire or retire. In the words of the human resources chief of one American group, “we must embrace [hybrid work] and find out, because otherwise staff will go to another employer who will give them that flexibility ”.

This year has started with more hopeful signs for drivers that are more difficult than 2021. In developed countries, there is already talk of society learn to live with Covid-19, as it does with endemic diseases. Good drivers need to be mindful of unexpected twists and turns. While this is hardly best practice, some may be tempted to apply an age-old technique for dealing with unsolvable workplace dilemmas: slowing down radical action and hoping that the problem will resolve itself.

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