Towards the end of 2021, things were looking up … and then Omicron appeared. So we begin 2022 with business owners and managers looking at some turbulent times ahead. As Human Resource Consultants, we can only advise on your people issues. But as your biggest, and arguably your most important resource, other business challenges will impact how you manage your team.
Here are our thoughts on the issues you might need to consider and why they will impact your staff.
1. Staff absences across every sector
Many businesses were already struggling to recruit new staff but now you, your suppliers and possibly your customers can expect more staff absences because they need to:
- Obtain booster vaccines or were vaccine hesitant and now require their original shots
- Take their kids to obtain their COVID vaccinations
- Self-isolate while awaiting test results or because they are positive for COVID
- Take time off to care for a member of their family who is COVID positive
- Recover from COVID which can include long COVID symptoms and potentially a slower return to full-time duties
All of these things will interrupt your normal operations and productivity so what plans can you put in place to mitigate these challenges? Perhaps you need to show compassion by increasing personal leave entitlements to keep staff or offer highly flexible working arrangements. It’s a challenging balancing act but we are here to help you navigate these issues.
2. Increased costs of doing business
We have already seen examples of how staff absences will interrupt manufacturing and supply chains. This has come at a time when you may be:
- Paying higher wages to attract staff
- Experiencing material shortages which has led to price increases
- Employing more casual or temporary staff and paying higher hourly rates
- Investing in Rapid Antigen Tests either as a government health directive or for staff safety reasons
With all of these factors at play, we suggest you work with your accountant and/or bookkeeper to ensure you understand the impact these additional costs are having on your profit margins.
3. Increasingly complex and dynamic WHS rules around COVID … and winter is coming
As an employer, you have a duty of care to keep all staff members safe – both physically and mentally. This includes acting in a way to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission in your workplace and other COVID-related issues.
Consequently, you need to actively monitor and implement all workplace requirements, obligations, health orders and entitlements – no matter how frequently they change. We suggest you regularly consult the Fair Work Ombudsman website. To start you off, we suggest you visit this link.
While there are still a lot of COVID unknowns, we can expect winter to deliver a whole new set of uncertainties. So get your COVID safe practices fine-tuned and in place NOW.
4. Mental health and stress levels affecting you, your staff and your leadership team
On 9 October 2021, The Guardian reported global research that estimated the pandemic was responsible for an additional 76 million cases of anxiety and 53 million cases of depression worldwide. The lead author of the research was Dr Damian Santomauro from the University of Queensland.
With those numbers, the threat for you, your family and your staff is real.
Like anything health related, prevention is the key. Even so, we all need to be on the lookout for signs that members of your team or yourself, are behaving a little differently.
Fortunately, there are lots of resources available but it requires courage to speak to someone about it. For example:
- GPs can put in place mental health treatment plans that are covered by Medicare
- Emotional support can be provided by organisations like Lifeline and Beyond Blue
- There are organisations which specialise in helping children and young people
We suggest you start your research for relevant services via Google. We are also available to guide you on how to handle a staff member who seems to be struggling.
“There’s a lot going on for business leaders”
Put simply, there’s a lot going on for business leaders. But one thing you can rely on is help to manage your staff from the End2end Business Solutions team. We will work with you through all your staffing challenges – from recruitment to promotion or termination. At every step, we’ll be there to guide you.
If you would like one less thing to worry about in 2022, talk to us about helping you manage your people. To learn more, call us on 02 8977 4002.