Of outdoor furniture, HR departments and Covid-19

Of outdoor furniture, HR departments and Covid-19

There is something to be said about oiling outdoor wooden furniture after an absence of about fifteen years. The act of sanding sun-bleached wood, removing all kid stains, and finally applying coat upon coat of oil, is practically therapeutic. The light scraping sound of the sand paper, the burning sensation in your fingers as the weathered wood is brought back to life again is strangely relaxing.

Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction as I look out at the reconditioned furniture. Hard work yet great results. It’s one lesson you learn in any HR department. Hard work does deliver results but sometimes requires quite a bit of sanding and more than a lick of oil or paint.

COVID-19 has pushed HR departments into the spot light. Flexibility, working from home, Health and Safety, employee wellbeing, were always part of the HR portfolio yet not always very visible. Today, they have become crucial aspects of any work place and the pressure on HR departments to deliver this agenda has never been stronger.

In a few days, workforces were mobilized like never before and many adapted with an agility they never knew they had. In a few short weeks many HR wish lists were suddenly important. Business owners and leaders recognized that the only way they were going to ride out the crisis was if their members of staff pulled the same rope. HR was expected to be on the front line, keeping staff members safe and sane, rallying the troops and communicating the next steps.

For those that had weak HR infrastructures this time has been even tougher. Decisions had to be taken on very little information and in a changing environment. Never has business had to face this kind of challenge.

As we get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, one question will linger. How can we build stronger, more robust HR departments that can harness the changes that we have given way to by virtue of this COVID-19 experience? What will it take and how do we get there?

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