Preparing for 2021: 5 Things You Need to Know in the New Year

Dec 22, 2020

1) Remote Work is Here to Stay 

When the first shelter in place orders for Oregon went into effect in March a lot of companies scrambled to transition their teams into remote work as quickly as possible. Most of us assumed that it would be a temporary change and we’d be back to the offices in a few months. Nearly 10 months later, most employees who are able to work from home (WFH) still do and we have no definitive end in sight.


If you haven’t already created or updated a Remote Work Agreement, it’s not too late! Having clear written policies and expectations in place creates a valuable and necessary structure for remote employees. Knowing that everyone has received the same guidance also allows managers to spend less time micromanaging results and helps to build trust within team.


Getting everyone on the same page (literally) is a great way to make sure everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for while giving them some freedom to dictate how to work gets done in a potentially chaotic WFH environment.


For customizable remote work templates and support with building an agreement that meets your unique company needs, contact our team of HR Experts today!



2) Stress and Burnout are Affecting All of Us


The past year has been hard on just about everyone. Some folks have transitioned into remote work for the very first time and depending how much space they have at home their ‘office’ could now be a seat at the kitchen table or a spot on the couch. It may also include juggling childcare, pets, family and roommates all on top of a full work schedule.


Other people are still going into the office or other brick and mortar location with the added pressure of keeping themselves, their co-workers, and their clients or customers safe. No matter what the specific circumstances we’re all experiencing new and nearly constant stressors as we learn to navigate the chaos of 2020 and beyond.


Regardless of your industry or company size it’s important to factor in the mental and emotional well-being of your employees as we enter another year of uncertainty. Employee assistance programs like those offered by Cascade Centers can be an affordable way to support your employees through these often difficult times.


Employees can also use Oregon Sick Time for mental health, and many companies have started to implement their own in-house employee wellness programs.


Get in touch for more information about employee assistance programs or alternative ways to incorporate mental health initiatives in your 2021 business strategy!



3) Recruitment is More Challenging Than Ever


2020 has proven to be a challenging year for sourcing and recruiting for many businesses seeking new employees. We’ve seen a number of factors affecting whether or not people apply for new positions and expect to see those carrying through into the New Year.


  • School closures and a lack of childcare has forced a number of qualified candidates to stay home to care for their families.
  • Candidates are less likely to apply for customer-facing roles or other positions that they feel are unsafe during this time.
  • The uncertainty of the next year has employees who might otherwise be willing to change positions or companies wanting to stay put to avoid any unnecessary change or risk.
  • Interviewing remotely might be challenging for someone with a less than ideal WFH setup.


To help address some of the specific challenges of recruiting, HR Annie is expanding its recruitment offerings! For more information on how we can help your company attract and hire qualified candidates, reach out to our team of HR Experts.



4) Things Are Changing Quickly and Often


With unprecedented challenges have come unprecedented solutions like the Families First Corona Virus Response Act as well as expanded protections for qualified leaves. These were originally created to be temporary policies and are often being updated as they are extended to meet ongoing needs.


Additionally, guidance around safety procedures is changing rapidly as we continue to learn more about how the virus is spread and how our efforts to contain the spread are impacting the community.


It can be challenging to keep up with all of the compliance changes on top of running your business, that’s why we recommend you lean on our team and our trusted partners to stay informed about the latest updates and how they will affect your specific business.


Sign up for our newsletter for more information about the latest compliance updates or schedule a time to meet with one of our HR Experts to make sure your company is using the most current information available.



5) DEI is a primary focus for businesses AND consumers


The events of this year have put a spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in the workplace. Consumers and employees have raised the bar on DEI and are demanding more from their employers and the companies that they spend their money with. People want to know exactly how these issues are being addressed in the workplace and may walk away from a company that doesn’t have a clear answer.


If you haven’t already, consider taking these basic steps:

  • Create a DEI statement for your company that all managers and employees can stand behind.
  • Invest in on-going trainings and education for yourself and your staff.
  • Consider holding regular listening sessions with your team to better understand their perspectives and experiences.


It’s important to understand that the work is never done when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We will always be learning, growing and trying to do better.


For help creating a DEI statement or to learn more about our comprehensive and customizable DEI trainings, get in touch today!




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