The Indian economy is going through a major slowdown from multiple directions and the companies are forced to take tough decisions in order to survive in the challenging circumstance as Corona virus disease COVID 19 brings a busy workforce to a standstill from the end of March, 2020. COVID-19 has resulted in an inevitable global shutdown frustrating businesses, investors, supply chains and Human Resource functions.
The outbreak has presented new roadblocks for the Indian workforce as job losses and salary cuts are likely in the high-risk services sectors such as airlines, tourisms, malls, multiplexes, restaurants, retailers, etc which have seen a sharp fall in demand due to lockdowns across the country. As companies are not meeting the revenue targets the employers may think of downsizing their workforce.
The financial market has experienced uncertainty about the future course and repercussions of COVID-19. India’s trade impact due to the outbreak have been affected most as a result of manufacturing slowdown in China that is disrupting world trade specially for the chemicals sector, textiles and apparel, the automotive sector, electrical machinery, leather products, metals and metal products and wood products and furniture. Indian Businesses are also facing reduced cash flows due to slowing economic activity which in turn is having an impact on all payments including to those for employees, interest, loan repayments and taxes.
Organizations have brought in a renewed focus on hygiene aspects concerning the pandemic and for some of the sectors, the work-from-home proposition is posing implementation challenges as it has a direct bearing on the business operations for manufacturing units where workers are required to be physically present at the
production sites, and services sectors like banking and IT where a lot of confidential data is used and remote working can enhance security threats. Hence, companies operating in these sectors are finding it difficult to implement work-from-home facilities without compromising on their day to day operations.
‘Corona virus’ is wreaking more chaos than usual and in this situation, HR leaders can help employers to manage the crisis and keep things operational. The Human Resources department now has a new responsibility to drive business continuity by helping employees feel comfortable and safe while ensuring that work continues at the usual speed. This is the ideal opportunity for brands to showcase their care for their employees and boost team loyalty. As a first step, most businesses around the world have now made it mandatory for employees to work from home. They have also issued a temporary ban on all business travel and face-to-face meetings with clients and customers. A combination of this event-related data alongside the Human Resource Information System data will create the ability to track over time the status of the workforce.
Despite the fear and mental stress surrounding the Corona virus outbreak, Businesses around the world have now recognized that work can be done as easily from home as at the office through platforms like Skype or Zoom, which further saves time and office resources. In the current environment, an employee-centric approach is crucial for brands to maintain employee trust and keep business going as usual. The HR department needs to provide consistent support to employees by facilitating work from home through appropriate technology and regular employee motivation. Thus, the more we can do to help each other and our communities, the better off we’ll be through the pandemic and beyond.
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