It seems like a lifetime ago that the business world was still reluctant to accept let alone encourage a culture of remote working. And now look where we are. The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and with it, the way we work and recruit. Who knows what will happen in the next three months or even the next few weeks. But one thing is for certain, we are in a much better position to thrive if we prepare and adapt. While resources are stretched and teams are scattered this is no easy task, but as resilient and resourceful people we know it can be done.
From better workforce planning to enhancing employee wellbeing, read on to discover some of the current recruitment trends in a COVID world and what we can expect in 2021 and beyond.
Providing the optimum remote working culture to employees
Given the adaptations we have all made since March, you may think you already have this sewn up, but it is vital that you check in with staff to make sure they are genuinely comfortable with their remote working situation. Many of us have enjoyed a reduction in commuting time, as well as the extra savings and two different surveys both found that around two-thirds of employees say they’re more productive when working from home. The other side of the coin, of course, is loneliness and isolation. A few months at the start of lockdown might have been a welcome break but a survey from Finder revealed that 30.9% of workers struggle with loneliness when working remotely. Here are a few ways you can help mitigate loneliness in your remote working teams.
Offering additional support to employees
Promoting wellbeing has - thankfully - become an increasingly integral part of the employer’s responsibilities to their teams and the COVID pandemic has made this more important than ever. We’ve heard some great stories of businesses going the extra mile to support their workforce; from flexible working initiatives to financial assistance, emotional and psychological support and childcare provision - business leaders are stepping up to make sure their staff have what they need to weather the crisis. Alongside demonstrating your commitment to being a caring and supportive employer, this approach also helps foster loyalty in your staff and strengthens your team and work culture.
Adapting skill bases to focus on resilience
You’ve probably read stories about fashion and textile companies pivoting their operations overnight to produce PPE and masks rather than the usual £200 jeans. While these were the stories that made the headlines, there was plenty of other inspirational businesses who adapted overnight to ensure they remained useful, relevant and resilient.
Prior to the pandemic, many businesses prioritised efficiencies; streamlining processes and workflows. This approach is fine when the going is good, but it doesn’t allow for disruptions and it doesn’t necessarily allow room for contingencies. In order to be a resilient business, you need to be able to respond quickly and effectively to challenges. So, how can we do this? One of the key strategies for resilience is to build roles and skills groups around outcomes. Another is to move away from siloing staff into specific knowledge and skills groups. A far better, and far more agile approach is to build cross-functional skills training into your workforce. By encouraging your teams to develop a wider skill base they can contribute more broadly to the company’s success. They should also enjoy greater job satisfaction as their training and development will open up more opportunities rather than following a linear, and perhaps less motivational, career path.
The future of work - the known unknowns
So, what will the workplace and business world look like in 2021 and beyond? Will there be greater or lesser gender equality as a result of home working? According to a study by McKinsey, women are 1.8 times more likely to lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic, so this is clearly something that needs to be monitored and addressed.
How will the ways we communicate, recruit, sell and maintain business relationships change? How do we continue to ensure our colleagues are happy and supported when we’re not sharing the same physical space? Research by Slack revealed that 72% of workers now want a hybrid remote-office model in the future so it’s up to both employers and employees to make this work. There are certainly interesting times ahead and we’ll continue to report on trends and make sure our own working culture is one that our team enjoys and thrives in.
How are you and your team managing and adapting during the pandemic? What challenges have you been presented with and what were the solutions? Let us know via our social media channels. And if we can help you with any future workforce requirements or if you’d like a chat about your plans, pick up the phone. We are experts in procurement and supply chain recruitment and we can help.
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