The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the labor market in recent years. The confinement and the emergency triggered many workers to rethink their priorities, the balance between life and work, and, on other occasions, give more importance to emotional health.
For their part, many companies abandoned the idea of traditional work, where employees arrive at their offices on a regular schedule, share lunch and breaks with their colleagues, and meet for several hours to discuss company strategies.
Now, more and more, companies have to adjust their operations to remote work, less staff in the offices, and interspersed face-to-face days in order to keep their employees safe and meet the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on us.
Definitively, the labor reality changed. And despite the fact that millions of workers have resigned their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic – what is known as “the great resignation” – technology and remote work have opened up a new way of operating within companies.
“The entrance of technology changed the perspective and the way of doing business. The pandemic opened the eyes of many people to the conditions that exist,” said Ruy Delgado Zayas, attorney and former secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (DRTH), in an interview published in February 2022 in El Nuevo Día.
Although, currently, there is no exact number of the impact of remote work in Puerto Rico, the secretary of the DRTH, Gabriel Maldonado, indicated in a recent interview (May 2022) with the newspaper Primera Hora that remote work “is here to stay.”
Maldonado said in the article that the labor market in Puerto Rico and the world has undergone many changes and now, in addition to the traditional claims for salaries and benefits such as medical plans, vacation and sick days, and other similar matters, “there are other things, such as remote work, which are alternatives that today’s employee looks at and contemplates when evaluating a new job offer or deciding whether to remain working in their current job”.
Similarly, a study published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) established that the elements of the employee value proposition that will have the greatest importance in the future are: employee safety, wellness programs, communication strategies, work/life balance support, schedule flexibility, opportunities for innovation and leadership development. Once again, we see that the theme of flexibility is repeated, in this case remote work, as key aspects for attracting and retaining the best talent in the labor market.
Also, labor flexibility already occupies the first place among the conditions that people value the most, according to a study by LinkedIn, displayed in El Economista.
And what do we do, we companies, in the face of this new reality?
The Society for Human Resources Management, Puerto Rico Chapter (SHRM-PR), an organization that brings together over 1,400 executives and professionals from Human Resources and related areas in the country, recommends addressing the following challenges:
- Apply flexible working measures fairly and consistently.
- Define which jobs can be done remotely now and in the future, and which must be done on company premises.
- Get rid off the myth that those who work remotely are less productive. How? establishing frequent meetings to review the specific objectives and the results expected from each collaborator.
- Attend to the well-being of those who perform flexible work. On the one hand, throwing away the unhealthy notion that you need to be always-on; and on the other, take care that the employee does not develop a feeling of social exclusion.
- Consider the impact that the implementation of the flexible work scheme will have for the workflow and for the collaborators who stay to work in the company’s facilities.
- Assure those who ask to work flexibly that they will not have a negative impact on their career in the future, and that, in terms of promotions and succession, their performance will be measured in the same way as that of employees who physically work in the company.
- Ensure that the company’s IT infrastructure and IT security extend to remote workers.
Not all employers are willing to pay what candidates ask for or make their work hours more flexible. Therefore, many candidates have made the decision to migrate to the United States or establish their own businesses as alternatives to obtain flexibility and better compensation.
However, Ultimate Solutions has the following offerings:
- Short or long-term contracts that provide the flexibility that candidates are looking for
- Growth opportunity
- Diversity of clients and projects in Puerto Rico, the United States and Spain
- Learning opportunity through U-Academy
- Opportunity for inexperienced candidates through the U-Value NOW program
- A family culture
- Recruiters who understand the needs of candidates and clients