by Brianna Crandall — January 8, 2021 — A new National Safety Council (NSC) report found continued remote work, increased focus on flexible work arrangements and mental health, and a renewed commitment to workplace safety to be among the most impactful workplace changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on in-depth interviews with safety, medical and health experts representing 13 industries, the State of the Response: The Future World of Work report also identified key factors business leaders must take into account moving forward.
NSC identified these workplace shifts as being among the most impactful:
- Operations — moving to remote work arrangements for as many employees as possible
- Human Resources — providing flexible work arrangements (e.g., hours, days, scheduling)
- Stress, Mental Health and Well-being — promoting or increasing employee assistance program (EAP) benefit offerings
- Communications — providing regular communication via multiple channels
- Organizational Culture — increasing focus on safety and health using COVID-19 as a catalyst
- Technology — increasing use of mobile app software to track infections
- Sustainability — rethinking the need for physical space and travel
Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, stated:
The way in which people, organizations and industries work has forever changed. This crisis has uncovered an innovative new way of working, while laying bare many challenges that have jeopardized the safety of our workforce. We must be agile in our response to adversity, work together to break down silos within our organizations, and prioritize safety — both physical and psychological — above all else.
The new report aims to serve as a foundation for organizations looking to navigate the future world of work post-pandemic. Based on the findings, NSC included in the report a framework for addressing three critical issues moving forward:
- Work modalities, such as how to address remote work and flexible schedules;
- Worker expectations, such as investing in mental health resources and employee support; and
- Work enablers, such as embracing technology to help augment job tasks.
The Future World of Work report is the third in a series of reports discussed on December 10 at the State of Response & Future World of Work Virtual Summit, presented by the SAFER (Safe Actions for Employee Returns) initiative at the National Safety Council. Aimed at helping businesses, policymakers and leaders, some of the nation’s top experts on infectious disease response, workplace safety and business thought leadership discussed our national response thus far — where it succeeded and where it failed — and provided insights to prepare employers for what comes next.
One of the major themes discussed at the Summit was the need for COVID-19 vaccine guidance in the workplace. Business leaders are looking for direction around their role in vaccine implementation — from education to distribution. NSC will continue to provide employers guidance utilizing expertise from its vast network of partners, including the SAFER task force, to help them navigate the next phase of the pandemic.
To read the full State of the Response: The Future World of Work report (PDF file), visit the NSC website.