How Has COVID-19 Affected The Workforce?

An Empty Office Space With Personal Computer

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, companies are adopting different strategies to responsibly contribute to containing the spread of the virus as well as ensure that there is minimal interference with business. As a result, the hiring processes for many companies have been significantly altered or adjusted. This blog will discuss the ways in which the pandemic is affecting the ability of companies to engage full-time hires during this period, among other things.

Pandemic-specific Policies

As companies respond to the pandemic, they are developing policies that guide how they should be run given the circumstances. These policies are mostly in line with the guidelines provided by the CDC and various governments on how to ensure the virus is contained. Such policies may limit companies from engaging full-time staff as a way of protecting existing employees and adhering to the established guidelines.

Reduction of Customers

The most obvious impact from the pandemic has been the rapid downturn in consumer activity as customers seek to protect themselves and their loved ones (Maurer, 2020). This has resulted in:
Reduced business activity: Most customers are now seeking all possible means to stay at home as well as work from home. With reduced activities across nearly all sectors, many companies have less of a need for full-time employees. The reduced number of customers has consequently led to a decrease in demand for labor.

  • Reduced revenue: Reduced business activity is also leading to a decrease in revenue. With decreased revenue, engaging staff on a full-time basis may be a challenge for many companies due to the expenses involved.
  • Increased financial burden: Companies have other expenses that need to be addressed despite the pandemic spreading at high speed. Such expenses include rent and other overhead. However, with a decrease in commerce, taking care of these expenses may be strenuous for companies. As a result, supporting full-time staff may be a challenge.

Workforce Shortages

Despite massive layoffs that would theoretically contribute to the number of people available to be hired, the pandemic has resulted in a diminished workforce. There are two primary factors for this, one of them quite obvious.

  • Increased mortality rate: Regardless of the true case & mortality numbers, there is an undeniable excess in deaths for the year of 2020 compared to 2019. Though the impact has been placed largely on older adults, there has been an uptick in mortality among adults who were still active in the workforce.
  • Increased anxiety among the workers: As the full impact of the coronavirus is still largely unknown, worker fears are further limiting candidate pools. Certain industries that require close-contact exposure to others may be struggling to hire full-time staff during the pandemic.

Impact On Hiring
Efforts to contain the spread of the virus have demanded that people stay at home as much as possible. This has limited the number of HR procedures involved to make a hire. For instance, applications for certain positions have reduced as people are not actively looking for those jobs. Secondly, for some jobs, interviewing and induction processes cannot be done using online platforms (Nadeem, 2020). Some need close contact and monitoring of employees, which of course results in virus transmission. As a result, engaging full-time hires is compromised.