How has Covid-19 effected workforce management?


The Covid-19 pandemic shook the world, with many sectors requiring their employees to work remotely whilst others pushed to be declared an essential service. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home during multiple days of the week before the end of 2021.  The prevalent question that remains is how the pandemic has affected the management of the workforce.

Managed Integrity Evaluation reports that remote work ultimately leads to better outcomes. Up to 75% of the workforce finds that there are fewer distractions when working from home. One of the critical approaches management has had to take during this time was to develop a reporting structure that places trust in employees to fulfil responsibilities with limited supervision. The shift in managerial styles to one of trust and transparency has become central to successful remote work, particularly if the organisation deems remote work a viable option for the future of the business. Correspondingly, there will be a requirement for management to move from a management style of control to empowerment, encouraging virtual meetings with staff to promote productivity and emphasising relationships and employee wellbeing.

In 2019, it was reported that over 67.7% of South African’s utilised the internet in some form. As a result of the pandemic, over 74% of surveyed senior leaders intended on moving at least 5% of their workforce to remote work. Managerial skills have had to evolve to meet this impending shift. It is imperative that managers can use technology to communicate goals and strategy clearly with employees, build community with those under their leadership and focus on skills development and instilling trust with employees working remotely.

Managers have had to change their leadership styles, adapting to a rapidly evolving work environment and a dispersed workforce. An essential skill for the future of management is to balance the requirements of remote workers with on-site workers with equal dedication, prioritising goals and rather than activity. The future of the workforce rides on how management rises to meet the unique challenges of social distancing within their organisation.

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