HR Guide to the Omicron Variant

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is striking a blow to the best-laid HR plans for 2022. Over the weekend before the Christmas holiday, businesses began to close their doors and reconsider their return-to-office policies. Google, Apple, and Citigroup all returned to remote work and abandoned previous timelines for returning to the office, according to NBC News.

The Wall Street Journal reported that numerous companies also changed their holiday plans. For example, Ropes & Gray LLP canceled its 200-person law firm partner lunch in early December because of safety considerations and the arrival of Omicron, said Julie Jones, Chair of the firm, to WSJ.

CNN and Universal News Group also shifted gears and had employees who did not have to be in the office to complete their jobs begin working from home again. And 88% of CFOs expect hybrid work to remain the norm through 2022, according to Deloitte.

The first step in facing this new normal is confronting what you just experienced. You need to look back to learn lessons and determine the best path forward. In the HR Exchange Network’s latest report, State of HR 2021, you can compare your experiences to other HR leaders, who responded to our survey. You will gain insight from HR experts, who share their thoughts on timely challenges, such as vaccine mandates and the hybrid workplace.

Reconsider Return-to-Office Plans
Learn about how the Omicron variant is changing employers’ approach to return-to-office plans. The truth is that no one knows what’s going to happen next. the last couple of years have taught executives that they have to be flexible and nimble. You simply have no choice but to adapt. If you don’t, you risk becoming redundant.

A Return to Remote Working
Many executives bemoaned having their employees working from home, and they were eager to return to the office on a more regular basis in 2022. But Omicron has completely upended those plans.

The reality is that some form of remote work is here to stay. You need to accept it. Then, you have to figure out how to effectively collaborate, measure performance, communicate, and manage work when the laundry is calling.

Get tips on how to improve the virtual office and stay connected with your team even if you’re not in the same physical space in How to Improve Your Hybrid Workplace.

Setting the Rules
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 seems impossible. But smart, practical guidelines can help. Human Resources has been charged with making decisions about vaccine mandates and masking up. Consulting doctors and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you make these kinds of decisions can help.

Focus on Mental Health and Wellness
The pandemic forces you to consider practical matters like the vaccine and social distancing. But you can’t forget that people are the ones whose lives are getting disrupted, whose work keeps changing, whose emotions have been through a tornado.

Amid the Great Resignation and a historic labor shortage, talent management becomes all the more important. It’s not just about an employee being able succeed in his or her job.

Helping employees tend to their health and wellness, especially when many have experienced burnout, has taken on more significance than ever. It is a demonstration of an employer’s recognition of what truly matters, and it can go a long way to help both recruits and employees feel cared for. It’s also simply the right thing to do in these hard times. Care for your people and they will care for you.


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