After the past year, it might not seem like there is anything else that could be thrown our way; but there are still a number of events in 2021 that employers need to prepare for.

The past year has given all of us a lot to reflect on. The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant interruption to our daily lives, which will no doubt continue for most (if not all) of 2021.

HR and H&S professionals will continue to see major challenges resulting from the coronavirus, including managing homeworking and remote workers, potential redundancies, and planning for business continuity. Ensuring the health and safety of all staff, contractors, visitors, and customers should also remain a top priority as we move towards reopening and warmer weather.

The pandemic has also given business leaders increased visibility into the personal lives of their employees, who have faced unprecedented personal and professional struggles over the last year. Combining this insight with an increase in the number of staff choosing to work from home moving forward means it is likely data protection will play a bigger part this year.

While enabling employees to work remotely became commonplace throughout 2020, the next wave of flexibility will no doubt be around when employees are expected to work. As flexibility shifts from location to time, it’s not the only kind of employee benefit that has taken on a different format. Adequate mental health support is now considered to be part of the new normal.

Even before the pandemic, many bigger businesses allocated parts of their budgets to mental and emotional wellbeing programmes. The struggles of living through the pandemic has brought wellbeing to the forefront of employers’ minds as we are more aware than ever of the impact of mental health on employees, and by association, the workplace.

Employers will also need to keep up to date with any changes to government support during the pandemic, especially when case numbers start to descend. Businesses should plan how to respond when the government’s co-funding payroll scheme, and any other schemes that employers may have accessed, come to an end to ensure they will not be struggling without the support.

Another key event that we all need to be prepared for is the implementation of the new immigration system. With the end of the Brexit transition period, we now need to consider the new system and what this will mean for our workforce. Employers must start considering what they need to do, how this will affect their recruitment processes, and if their staff have been encouraged to register for settled or pre-settled status.

We will also likely see a rise in employers looking to ‘rent’ talent to fill the skills gap, as ultimately, employers simply can’t re-skill the capabilities of their existing workforce fast enough to meet their changing needs.


Is there anything you think will be have a major influence on HR or H&S this year? Let us know!


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