How is HRtech adapting to the work-from-home normal?

Even as you read this article, the Netherlands is close to making work from home, or WFH, a legal right for its citizens. Though WFH as a concept predates the pandemic, it became everyday prominence and parlance during the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Does it make you wonder about the implications of WFH? 

In this article, we’ll look into: 

  • How the pandemic shaped WFH.
  • How HRtech is responding and adapting to the new normal
  • How the SaaS sector can drive the adoption of HRtech services

We will also look into the technical aspects involved in solving the challenges faced by HR in the post-pandemic era.

How the pandemic shaped WFH

The concept of WFH existed before the pandemic. Eurostat says 14 percent of the Dutch workforce adopted WFH before 2020. Since the concept has gained popularity, it has overturned the 9-5 work culture. Thanks to constantly evolving technologies such as Skype, FaceTime, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, authenticator applications, cloud computing, messaging, and email, work can now be completed from a home office.

The SaaS sector, too, has used the opportunity to boost its service offerings for both employees and employers to enable smooth remote functioning.

The pandemic has shaped WFH in ways that we now have a functional workspace setup at home, which was very unlikely even a few years ago. According to Pew Research, 81 percent of the US adult population used video calling and conferencing during the pandemic, which is significantly higher. In India, according to the data from telecom regulator TRAI, wired broadband connections grew at the rate of 2 percent every month during the pandemic, which is higher than the 0.5 percent growth before the pandemic. 

India had 22.8 million wired broadband connections as of March 2021. However, this number has increased rapidly because ISPs are making inroads into tier-2 cities where the demand for stable and fast internet has increased due to WFH culture. Airtel Fiber serves more than 200 cities and crossed the 3-million active subscriber mark in 2021 after a 27 percent growth in that same year. At the same time, JioFiber gained 2 million subscribers and had 3.5 times more data consumption than pre-pandemic times. The WFH culture mainly drives all these spikes in broadband connections

Positives and challenges

Forbes says that by the end of 2022, around 25 percent of professional jobs in the United States will go remote. Employees may find remote work enticing, and employers now realize its advantages. Primarily, work-from-anywhere rules can increase employee productivity while decreasing organizational costs.

Other positives include: 

  • Skilling or reskilling: Traveling and waiting time may be used to learn new skills or hobbies or to spend more time with friends and family. It can also establish a side hustle, popular among Gen Z and millennials.
  • Distributed workforce: A dispersed workforce is better positioned to keep operations going in a natural or man-made emergency, even if a portion of the group goes offline.
  • Chance to excel: According to a recent Harvard Business School report, telecommuting professionals with very complex tasks that do not require a lot of cooperation or social support can outperform their office-based counterparts.

The challenges include:

  • Increase in workaholic tendencies: When your workplace is always waiting for you, with that deadline lurking over your head, it’s difficult to lock the door and pretend you’ve left for the day. Many home-based professionals work longer hours rather than less, racking in work time on evenings and weekends simply because it exists, and they can’t ignore it.
  • Need for additional resources: Monitors, printers, internet access, smartphones, hosting and professional services, and software may all be included in the cost of setting up an office. If you want to deduct the total cost of each piece of equipment, forget about utilizing it for your firm since employees’ personal and company purchases must be kept separate to comply with tax legislation.
  • Employees not sticking to their work schedule: It is your responsibility to determine your working hours, keep to them, work during those hours, and refuse to allow anyone to convince you that you are genuinely employed. Regrettably, home life has distractions that may waste valuable daylight and cause well-meaning homeworkers to fall behind on critical chores.

How has HR tech responded to this new normal?

Popular HR IT solutions for handling day-to-day time and attendance, employee directories, and HR activities such as recruitment, onboarding, offboarding, performance, payroll, and compensation include Asana, Namely, Trello, BambooHR, Workday Teamwork, Monday.com, and Hibob.

Companies recovering from Covid-induced disruptions in the work cycle, including job losses and the unavoidable WFH culture, are adopting HR technologies to implement a faster hiring process and remotely manage their personnel.

Because of the pandemic, staffing solutions business TeamLease is seeing a 30 percent increase in demand for its technology. Hibob’s research found that implementing HR technology has a significant and measurable influence on employee satisfaction. 

Innovations that HRtech made popular include: 

  1. Platforms for online hiring: Video conferencing for hiring and firing is no longer a novel notion, with HR departments preferring virtual meetings over in-person interviews.

HR managers are relying on technologies to assure hassle-free recruitment and initiation. HR departments use video interviews to recruit and onboard new employees. Based on a hiring manager’s criteria, this software may process numerous applications in minutes.

  1. Employee training software: Face-to-face live training and introduction events are being superseded by online activities as recruits are hired and initiated online.

HR departments increasingly teach employees using modern learning systems, including course creation, time management, video hosting, attendance tracking, and assessment. Aside from training, this system assists companies in tracking and monitoring the training activities of recruits. 

  1. Chatbots: Your inquiries may be answered by HR chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. To compensate for their unavailability, HR administrators are utilizing intelligent chatbots that can answer questions ranging from business holidays, perks, training session regulations, and employee assessments. This ensures that these demands are not neglected and that employees are satisfied.

Every day, human resources managers are inundated with work-related activities. However, these systems enable employees to verify anything from salary to benefit details without the assistance of an HR person. 

What difficulties did HRtech face in adapting to WFH?

Only a few people take the time to realize that not everyone’s family situation is identical. There may not be a separate office, a quiet additional room, or a high-speed internet connection. Before allowing employees to work from home, HR must openly explore these concerns with them. 

Another significant concern is the absence of fundamental principles or a WFH policy that specifies everything from how soon the individual is expected to reply to clients to what to do during an unannounced appointment.

WFH poses the following challenges to an employer: 

  • Having client-facing staff that is geographically dispersed and lacks suitable communication protocols.
  • Employees fail to clock in and out, fail to notify their coworkers of their whereabouts, and fail to attend essential calls or meetings.
  • Employees consistently get less work done and are less engaged on email or the intranet on WFH days than on in-office days.
  • Submitting a significant quantity of work after the WFH term.

Few ways to improve employee interaction: 

  1. Use technology to deliver personalized WFH needs: Data is more crucial than ever to determine the success of your program since demands have changed. Nowadays, we need more help to maintain our mental health. By examining this data, employers may create a significantly more affordable benefits package for each employee. 

A recent report from Prudential suggests that perks are cited as a “major motivator” by 73 percent of workers for continuing to work for a company. Fifty-two percent of respondents indicated they would be prepared to take a chance on a new job if it offered better benefits, and 75 percent agreed that getting benefits through an employer is more crucial than ever. According to 75 percent of workers, the current climate has made them recognize that benefits are a far more vital component of the job. Companies may also provide additional funding to help with products for homeschooling or equipment for in-home offices.

  1. Have frequent empathetic discussions with employees: Find out how they are responding to the difficulties of WFH, evaluate their communication methods, talk about case studies of WFH cultures that have been successfully implemented and what the employees can learn from them, and urge them to handle WFH and office work equally.

What can SaaS offer HR teams?

HR departments require the technology and solutions to guide them effectively through the era of remote work as businesses adjust their policies accordingly. Technologies such as synced cloud computing and storage improve interaction flexibility with employees from any location. 

HR professionals may help employees by using automation and self-serve choices with complete systems for monitoring, analyzing, and boosting employee performance. As cutting-edge tools like machine learning become more widely available, organizations may simplify how they support their employees.

The following technologies will shape remote work in the future:

  • Virtual spaces

The future of working remotely is in virtual environments. It will depend on how well you can communicate with one another and if you can keep your teams engaged. HR could feel a little out of place without face-to-face interactions with coworkers. Virtual workspaces could provide the answers you require to accommodate remote workers.

There are more alternatives than ever for communicating in virtual settings, from virtual reality (VR) to smartphone apps that keep remote workers updated on the go. Standard instant messengers, work collaboration tools, and virtual offices are all available to remote teams.

  • Cloud-based solutions

A cloud-based data service that can securely protect their information across a highly secured and backed-up network is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. This leaves time for high-security procedures and enhances workers’ digital communication skills in remote work.

A cloud-based system, for instance, can enable a team of employees to collaborate and discuss in an efficient digital setting that is synced to account for time zone variations. You may enhance your brainstorming sessions using collaborative editing tools, digital whiteboards, and group documents on a secure platform.

  • Large-scale AI

AI involves using clever algorithms to decide on important business choices. These tools are revolutionizing the HR industry and enabling advancements in everything from skill tracking to better hiring practices.

Software as a service (SaaS) provides AI solutions in the HRtech sector.

These aid HR teams in automating various tasks that consume a large portion of their working hours. HR managers, for instance, may automate the first slog through piles of applications and match potential candidates using semantic language pairing with the correct AI system. They may more easily focus their search on those who have the best resumes as a consequence.

Virtual worlds, cloud computing, and AI are all still evolving. With these technologies, HR can innovate to enable empowering employee solutions. This may result in simplified payrolls and greater worker flexibility.

The future of remote work

The future of working remotely is predicated on human-centric technological solutions that encourage an improved job experience by offering a team the freedom of cloud-based solutions and enabling them to connect through safe virtual spaces. HR departments can bridge the communication gap and engage remote staff with the right technology plan.

Nationwide’s latest Agency Forward survey suggests the ‘Great Resignation’ trend may be cooling as few business owners reported increased resignations over the past six months. Only 4 percent of employees said they started a new full-time job during that period. Nearly 30 percent of owners say resignations are due to employees wanting to pursue a passion, and 28 percent believe employees were just burnt out or didn’t have enough work flexibility. But employees cite better job security, stronger cultural fit, or more competitive financial incentives as their top reasons for seeking a new job.

As a result, with work from the office, work from home, and dozens of hybrid work options in between likely to remain a part of the modern work environment, it’s an excellent time for companies to think about the kinds of work that can be done in an office and what can be done remotely. Possessing this insight and providing flexibility can help business owners attract and retain employees while keeping their long-term business plans on track.

Thus, you may convince yourself that you’ve kept up with the times and understand the significance of HRtech the next time this subject comes up.

This story is sponsored by

Read more stories