- Contingent Workforce Strategies 3.0 - https://cwstrategies.staffingindustry.com -

Into the unknown: The new world of work amid Covid-19

At the time of this writing, the global spread of Covid-19 is already reshaping accepted definitions of workplace, and even workforce, in ways we didn’t think possible a matter of weeks ago. A CWS 3.0 article [1] last week advised organizations to include contingent workers in Covid-19 precautions, including office hygiene. Now, just one week on, for many organizations, asking workers to congregate at a physical office seems almost unthinkable, and The World’s Largest Work From Home Experiment [2] has begun in earnest.

A number of large and well-known brands have acted swiftly and decisively when considering both their employed and contingent workforces in their responses to Covid-19. It may have started with Microsoft [3], but several other large firms, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, have promised varying levels of financial support [4] for contingent workers in the event they are unable to work.

For many businesses however, this level of flexibility is not an option. As reported in The Washington Post, a number of companies in highly exposed industries are already reducing their workforces [5]. The oft-quoted line from Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” — “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” — could not be more apt today.

For those organizations faced with difficult decisions about both their permanent and extended workforce, consider the following:

Look outside your own organization for inspiration.

Be consistent, clear and collaborative

As the global situation evolves, it is increasingly likely that at least some of the workforce decisions made in response to Covid-19 will form a blueprint for the way companies get work done in the future, particularly in light of the almost inevitable recession that will follow — some say it’s already arrived [10]. Organizations that are able to consider the medium- to long-term implications of their short-term plans will be better equipped to catch the wave of the ensuing stormy waters.