Mai Ton, chief people officer at Fabric and author of “Come into My Office: Stories from an HR Leader in Silicon Valley,” writes for Time that since 2020 HR professionals have “been tasked with the impossible job of seeing the future, making calls on hybrid work and remote policies with little information.”
Even in a profession that is ever evolving and where the expectation is that the HR professional always need to adjust to new workplace realities, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent fallout has been especially tough. “They’ve been de facto therapists, assuaging anxieties around questions like: Will I be confined to sitting on Zoom calls for the rest of my working life? How embarrassed should I be when my baby runs naked in the background for colleagues to see? Am I really part of the team if I’ve never met anyone in person?,” Ton writes.
“They’ve been in-house nurses, ventilation checkers, infection-control experts, and facilities planners, all while keeping up with the latest on constantly changing mask rules and government-mandated office protocols,” she adds.
Ton hopes that the pandemic experience will provide some guidance so the next crisis does not lead to as much burnout. She also has worked as head of people at Kickstarter, White Ops, HelloSign, OneLogin, RichRelevance, and Trulia. “Human-resources professionals are still finding their way through the fog,” Ton writes. “But my hope is that with this big reshuffle, we can be more intentional going forward about surrounding ourselves with like-minded, caring, and compassionate people, and leaving room for rest.