The world is getting back to the normal, The New Normal, to bring the economy back on track. As the workplace gears up to switch on the restart button, they are likely to face challenges to ensure employees’ safety and well being.

WHO and FICCI lists the following emerging scenarios at workplace:

Physical distancing is here to stay

·  Whole concept of space will be re-imagined at workplaces

·  Employers will need to restructure physical settings and responsibilities to adhere to the social distance of at least 1 meter

·  Physical barriers between people will be the new normal

·  New workplace policies for example, reserve desk in advance, adequate gaps between shifts and staggered lunch breaks for staff will be implemented

·  New etiquette for canteen, elevator and other common places will be adopted

Safer workplaces

·  Use of more sanitizers, reusable face covers, and gloves will make its way into normal lives

·  Thermal screening at all exit and entry points and mandatory health checks will be a routine

·  Greater importance will be given to clean and disinfected office spaces

·  Physical touch points will be reduced. For example: face recognition tools will replace biometrics, more automation will be sought in physical settings

Flexible and remote working

·  The organisations will:

·  prefer scattered work hours

·  offer flexibility of working

·  push for working from home and other remote locations

·  Employees will be expected to learn new tools and acquire new skills through digital learning platforms

Increased Consideration for Emotional Well being

•  There will be greater employee consultations for keeping the workplace safe and functional 

•  Emotional well being of employees will be maintained through increased HR engagement

Work related travel will be reduced

·  Organisations will limit domestic and international travel as digital platforms will be used increasingly for meetings

·  Only essential work-related travels will be the new normal

Businesses through Digital Technologies including AI and Communication like never before

·  New job roles will be created and responsibilities will be redistributed using technology for communication

·  There will be an urgent need to up skill ourselves to be relevant in the job market

·  Many processes will get simplified

·  Cross-functional collaboration will become more common, especially with increased remote work

·  HR will leverage modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and modern tools, among other technologies, to make their jobs more streamlined and refined

·  AI, including home-grown AI tools, will be used in monitoring workers’ productivity and their need for skill training