Covid19 / Coronavirus Ongoing Change in Employee Behaviours

By HRheadquarters

In our previous article Covid19 / Coronavirus Leads to Change in Employee Behaviours for HR we examined some of the emerging trends of behaviours in the workplace as Covid19 unfolded. Withdrawn resignations, cancelling annual and family related leaves, and a sudden interest in eWorker tax reliefs were all of clear interest to employees throughout Ireland. Sso what’s been happening in organisational ecosystems since?

Counterintuitively – Less Sick Leave

Yes, during this world health crisis there has never been a healthier workforce if sick leave was your benchmark. Our readers organisations are seeing way less sick leave year on year for comparable periods, despite Covid19 related absences.

So how can this be? Some thoughts:

  • Casual sicknesses have all but disappeared – the huge amount of employees working from home have seemingly meant those ‘just not 100%’ sick days have not been taken. Employees with a minor common cold and cough who definitely would not have come to work (especially in C19 times) are happily working away at home and not taking a sick day.
  • Likewise, more dubious days off are not been taken either by at home anyway employees
  • Organisations are providing alternative leaves to help their employees such as extended family leave arrangements, moving some otherwise sick days to differing categories

Changing Leave Dates Continues

People are continuing to change their leave dates as they cannot do much currently. This has led companies to look for solutions to ensure they do not have huge numbers of people trying to take leave, all in a shorter than normal timeframe in Q3/4.

Organisations are looking at carry over arrangements – some enforcing heavily what can be carried over, some allowing complete freedom once they are meeting their Working Time Act (WTA) obligations.

The UK have relaxed their equivalent of the WTA giving employers more wiggle room but Ireland has, at the time of writing, not changed the position.

Some in the legal profession are warning caution on forcing people to take leave due to potential challenges in the future around Section 20 (ii) of the act:

“…. taking into account—

(i) the need for the employee to reconcile work and any family responsibilities,

(ii) the opportunities for rest and recreation available to the employee”

Can you have rest and recreation meaningfully at the moment? More than likely the WRC will tell us in the near future!

Red Tape has disappeared

All that stuff that “shouldn’t/couldn’t be done” is now been done with ease, we just needed a global pandemic to get there.

Everyone who can work from home, can work from home – your internal bureaucracy/red tape is now gone and people on new starter probation/below manager level/that role needs to be in office,  are happily and productively working away from home.

Not only that but the 2 week lead time it used to take to get a remote worker set up, can now be done in days.

Processes have been amended and the status quo has been seen as the barrier to change that small minded leaders have never had to challenge before.

Unprecedented use of the word unprecedented

As you may have seen on our social media channels, there has been unprecedented use of the word unprecedented 😉


Companies are rethinking their office space requirements

Lots of organisations are realising that the expensive rest they are paying may in fact be a waste of money as they run their business predominantly remotely.

Twitter have just announced that employees can now avail of working from home “forever” – other organisation will go from a work from home 1-2 day a week model to a, you can be in the office 1 day a week type set up. Less office space, less rent, more profit seems like a logical progression most CEOs will get onboard with.