Human Resources Navigating the Transition to a Virtual Work Environment Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
After formulating conceptual and methodological notes on human resources adapting to virtual work because of the pandemic, the paper will study the impact of remote work on employees.
Abstract - On March 11th, 2020 The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. According to the WHO, “Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the Covid-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. The Covid-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”
Thus, the best way to protect people from the virus is social distancing. Leaders around the world had to make urgent decisions to ensure the safety of people. Traveling was banned and schools had to switch to remote classes. Some businesses also had to navigate the transition to a virtual work environment. Others had to close. The changes that businesses implemented may remain in the post-pandemic world. The adaptation to the new situation has been challenging. Not all businesses were able to quickly pivot and adjust. In fact, many employers and employees have struggled to adjust to a surprising and uncertain crisis. The global economy has been affected, causing social disruption and uncertainty to the labor market.
The pandemic is rapidly changing the way people work. Many people stay at home to avoid spreading the virus. However, many people cannot work remotely. The number of workers applying for unemployment insurance has increased unprecedentedly. (Goldsmith-Pinkham and Sojourner, 2020). There has been no crisis as influential as the Covid-19 pandemic in the world that has had an impact on remote work, replaced direct work participation, and strengthened communication and coordination through the Internet. However, the evolution of remote work began long before Covid-19 hit, and even before modern technological advances, such as the Internet. “Workhome” has been familiar since the Middle Ages. Although, throughout history, work culture was developed out of the necessity for in-person communication and work in offices to respond to social, cultural, and technological factors.
In 1997, the EU launched a commission to study the effects and problems that telework will have on the economy. Although, there is a lack of sufficient resources of theory regarding the evolution and history of the virtual workplace, which makes sense as this phenomenon is still fresh and developing.
Since the beginning of the crisis, there have been many challenges in human resource management and leadership in decision-making. Lack of communication culture and non-participation of all employees who are important to identifying problems and system efficiency have become obvious. (Erik Brynjolfsson John J. Horton Adam Ozimek Daniel Rock Garima Sharma Hong-Yi Tue, 2020).
However, the pandemic has accelerated and forced some of the human resources management norms. The remote organization had been representing a new form of structure where modern technology is used to connect people and reach communication business performance, but also accomplish tasks (Damnjanović et al., 2020). It is important to continually improve and adjust different dimensions of management tools as a system. These tools and processes coordinate different aspects of human activities, with economic, sociological, psychological, and technical dimensions (Erik Brynjolfsson John J. Horton Adam Ozimek Daniel Rock Garima Sharma Hong-Yi Tue, 2020).
Working from home is related to an increase in employee’s motivation, job satisfaction, and how committed they are to the organization (Kurland 2002; Collins 2005). Working from home has also been shown to decrease distractions, and increase productivity at work (Baruch 2000; Xixi 2008). Working from home can also help with an employee’s work-life balance (eg Felstead et al. 2002). In fact, the concept of work-life integration (Haeger and Lingham 2014) shows that work and life issues usually can be managed through technological development, which may have a significant impact on the labor market.
The field of interest of human resource management science is not only to create abstract theories but also to solve organizational problems. This field of science is a collection of various disciplines and subdisciplines, leading to the existence of multiple paradigms and methodological methods, lack of its own methodological tools, and the use of the results of many other scientific fields.
Due to the lack of in-depth research on the methods used in the management field, resulting in insufficient knowledge, the significance of research in this specific field is very important. The aim of our research is to study the impact of remote work on employees. We will be analyzing observations in the education field. The managers and employees have adapted to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic in various ways. We will also analyze data to study, and then compare, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We will be applying observational research which is a qualitative research method where the management of the remote work was observed and analyzed. The strength of qualitative research is its ability to provide complex descriptions of how employees experience a given research issue, in our case, the impact of remote work on the employees. It provides information on the often contradictory emotions, relationships, behaviors, beliefs, and opinions of individuals.