But what does this mean for the workforce and recruiters?
The UK is set to remove COVID-19 restrictions on July the 19th, allowing all workers to return to the office full time. However, business leaders have already stated that the way we work will never return to the traditional 9-5 working week, and instead, the new flexible working system will become the norm.
But what will this look like, and what changes will recruiters need to make to accommodate these changes?
Research released in March shows that 65% of employees were keen to get back to the office, but that 2/3 of these employees would prefer to work flexibly, combining working in the office and from home. This has caused employers and recruiters, especially those working in HR, to make major changes to their workspaces and employment patterns, including re-organising the office spaces to create distanced working space, more frequent cleaning, and considerations to the mental health and wellbeing of their staff as the return to work could trigger spikes in anxiety for travelling by public transport and working in crowded spaces after living in a bubble.
PWC have already identified how working from home could reduce the UK’s GDP by £15.3 billion, something employers will be keen to avoid. But they’ll have to balance this drive for productivity with their staff’s growing requests to be more flexible with both their working spaces and hours.
This reflects what is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the change to a hybrid working system that the drive for flexibility appears to have been triggered by employees, rather than employers. The shift in balance from bosses directing their workforce, to the workforce guiding their bosses, reflects the change in the working mentality that the pandemic has triggered, with more importance placed on a healthy work-life balance.
Here at itecopeople, we’ve been remote working for some time, we’re living proof that working from home can be successful! But it’s also important to still meet up from time to time, and this is where hybrid working comes into play. Our next meeting is on July 27th, (when we are also celebrating our 21st birthday). Flexible operations, if implemented carefully, can work for your business.
How does this affect the recruitment sector?
Getting the right equipment is a must for any new staff to ensure they can start their job as smoothly as possible, and this is where IT becomes paramount. Trusty desktops were arguably the preferred choice of many employers who now need to look at easily transportable laptops. This will have a knock-on effect on the software applications used, with cloud-based technology sure to rise in popularity. Recruiters also need to think about how many new employees they can take on, with research revealing how lockdown has affected our increased need for workplace privacy and more personal space. Expect to see employers reconfigure office space and favour open-plan workplaces to traditional cramped office spacing.
The current trends definitely show a shift to a new, hybrid working system, and recruiters will need to continually consult their workforce for any changes to their current working systems to maintain a happy workforce. While 2020 has shown that the future is hard to predict, it certainly looks as though the traditional working system has been firmly left in the previous decade.
We’d love to hear from you about your experiences of returning to work and the challenges your facing going back to the office.