Six Months into the Pandemic, What Have We Learned?

It’s six months into the pandemic. Where are we? What have we learned? How are people coping? How is HR helping? How have the layoffs and furloughs at so many companies across the country (and world) been going?

Now is a good time to take stock of lessons learned in a variety of areas, including communications, training, and emotional support. So we surveyed HR professionals to take their collective pulse. Here’s a snapshot of some of their responses:

On layoffs and furloughs

“We had to put folks on furlough until the PPP loan went through, but as expected, when it was nearing the end of our PPP funds, we had to lay off staff. It was communicated that layoffs may happen, so nobody was surprised.”

“We participated in the workshare program reducing our full-time employees from 40 to 32 hours per week. This was extremely challenging as we found it difficult to manage schedules in a virtual state.”

On well-being

“The pandemic and the social inequities that have become more prominent have taken a toll on the entire workforce. In order to address these concerns we have offered professional development sessions pertaining to balance, wellness, navigating difficult conversations about race and racism. We have also been very flexible with our leave time policies, encouraging employees to utilize the time that they need to care for themselves or their close family members.”

“Folks were a little shook and morale was down for a bit, but folks quickly worked their way back into their roles. However, roles and goals definitely adjusted since January 2020. Some feel burnt out and it’s hard with the social isolation aspect for our staff.”

“Those remaining at work amid the pandemic have been fearful of getting the virus. Throughout the pandemic the HR department has sent out emails updating the workforce on what actions it’s taking to keep the workplaces safe and letting them know if/when they have been exposed. HR has also sent information about mental health resources available and supplied contact information to our EAP.”

On what you’d do differently

“Be more prepared to work remotely. We will likely not return the majority of our workforce to the office permanently.”

“We would require a standard rotation schedule instead of allowing employees the flexibility to switch days weekly.”

“Try to exhaust every possibility and provide work search options and EAP services.”

“Have more communication with our employees while they are on furlough.”

Want to learn more? Join us for our upcoming webinar, Six Months into the Pandemic, What Have We Learned about Terminations, Mental Health and Well-being, and Legal Considerations? on Monday, September 14 at noon EST. Our panel will talk about how best to manage these tough issues that we’re all facing right now. It includes Martin Schmelkin, partner at Jones Day; Nancy Vitale, co-founder and managing partner of Partners for Wellbeing; Teri Coyne, director of programs at GetFive; and moderated by Evan Wittenberg, EVP and CPO at Ancestry.com. Register here.

Like what you were reading? We’ve got a lot more to share!Click here to check out other HROI articles and interviews.

Read Next


More Human

Ensure your exiting employees are focusing on their careers – rather than their frustrations.

Modern Outplacement

Our coaching-first model puts the focus on dedicated coaching and great job search technology.

Career Management

Tap into the real potential of your workforce with our Career Management services.

Executive Coaching

Maximize your professional potential through our targeted executive coaching programs.