For most people, the pandemic has completely changed the way we work and the type of work we do. More people work remotely. Trucking and delivery services are in constant demand. According to HR (Human Resources) Morning, 2022 is likely to change the workplace in many more ways. The work will affect what types of workplace accidents employees have. Employers need to anticipate these changes to help reduce the number of workplace accidents, and employees and potential employees will want to be aware of these trends as well.
Some of these workplace trends will be in response to the pandemic. Other changes will be for other reasons. Some of the workplace trends employers and employees should expect include the following:
High turnover rates continue
More than half of human resource leaders expect that the high turnover rate from the pandemic will continue. Most of these HR professionals say that hiring remotely and integrating remote workers into the workplace is a major challenge – though these leaders do say that interviewing applicants works just as well as in-person interviews.
HR Morning suggests that the current employee members participate in the “later-stage” virtual interviews. Otherwise, the current workers should be invited to submit questions for the prospective employee.
The HR process will evolve-currently it is a challenge to fill positions
Nearly half of all small businesses say that they have job openings they cannot fill – based on research from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The difficulty of finding new employees will likely increase in 2022. Employers will need to expand the populations and places they target for new employees.
One growing positive trend is that employers are focusing more on hiring recent military veterans. According to employment company, “the hiring and reskilling of veterans can be an extremely viable way to address the skilled talent shortage. The CEO of the company stated that recent veterans “have a strong sensibility about the dynamics between quality, quantity, maintenance, safety, procedural compliance and the people they work with or supervise.”
Another new group that employers are targeting are candidates who have criminal records. According to Linda Shaffer, Chief People and Operations Officer at Check, many of the 77 million formerly incarcerated Americans aren’t considered for any jobs because of their criminal history. She stated that employers can expand their workforce by interviewing this group of workers. Employees with past criminal records do “improve diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.”
One would think that this is, of course, assuming that there is evidence of reform of the potential employee, not an ongoing history of criminal conduct, and that the job does not actually of the kind that by law, requires the employee to be free of certain types of criminal convictions.
Uncertainty about the workplace will continue
The COVID-19 pandemic is still far from being under control. The virus is affecting the lives and well-being of all Americans, including employees.
One major concern for employees in early 2022 will be the status of vaccination mandates. The federal mandates are changing as the courts review them and as the disease mutates into other forms. State and local governments have their own rules. Employers also need to make decisions based on the needs of their company and the safety of their workers.
According to a Qualtrics survey, vaccination discussions are causing a lack of trust between management and employees and divisions among various groups within companies. In response, HR Morning says that employers will need to spend more time on conflict resolution and team-building in 2022. As workers return to the office, managers will need to review how to make the workplace a more civil place while respecting everyone’s point of view.
More remote work means on-site problems
While working from home helps avoid exposure to people who might have the virus and helps reduce the risk of workplace accidents, there are problems involved with working with a skeletal work crew. For example, as more and more companies rely on technology, there is an imperative to have an IT team at the office to handle software and hardware disasters – such as databases that fail or when access to the Internet fails. Companies will need to make sure the IT team can work smoothly with the remote workers.
Remote work creates engagement problems
Many workers who work remotely feel isolated. There’s a lot to be said for in-person conversations to create better collaboration. One solution might be for direct managers to schedule more virtual “check-ins” with remote employees than they otherwise would with workers in the office.
Safety and health concerns
A major part of workplace safety will continue to be balancing in-office work where workers may be exposed to other workers who have COVID – and remote working. Employers will need to address more than just mandates. They’ll need to think through what tests they’ll require and when and how to administer those tests. Employers will need to keep track of the vaccination status of their workers. Employers will need to review other safety protocols such as masking and social distancing.
The last two years have been stressful for everyone. Employers should anticipate that many workers will have mental health problems. These problems can be made worse if a worker has a workplace accident.
How do these new trends affect workers’ compensation in North Carolina and Virginia?
The need for skilled workers affects the current workforce. Many businesses such as construction workers, manufacturers, hospitals, and restaurants work as a team. When all of the team isn’t in place, that makes work harder for the current workers. More accidents can happen because other workers can’t help out or the team is otherwise short-handed. Many workers are working overtime and double shifts which means they’re more tired. Fatigue is a major cause of workplace accidents.
Bringing in new workers from the military and workers with past criminal workers provide opportunities for those groups – but until those workers can be properly trained and gain work experience – current workers will have an increased risk of suffering workplace injuries.
We’ve discussed in other blogs that illnesses due to COVID are not likely to be covered as an occupational diseases for all occupations, but that Virginia has made strides in covering Healthcare workers directly involved with COVID-19 treatment as well as first responders and law enforcement. Some exceptions may apply.
It’s important to note that injuries that occur while working remotely, assuming one can show that he or she has begun said work for the day, should be covered by workers’ compensation.
At Joe Miller Law Ltd., we keep current with the new workplace trends. The bottom line is that if you are injured while doing your job or suffer a compensable occupational illness, we’ll pursue your work injury benefits. These benefits include about 2/3rds of your lost wages and all reasonably necessary medical bills, for potentially up to 500 weeks. To discuss your right to workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia or North Caroline, call attorney Joe Miller, Esq., at 888-667-8295 or fill out my online contact form to make an appointment.
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