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Flexible Working – During and Post Pandemic

Since the return from lockdown, our team of consultants have reported that at the top of many job seekers requirements, there is the desire to continue with home/flexible working. Therefore, we thought we would take a more detailed look at the flexible working world, that was ultimately created due to lockdown and the worldwide pandemic.

Working from home became part of the new normal for many office-based workers, as millions of people around the world were forced to work from their homes, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whereas previously some employers were hesitant to allow regular home working for their employees, Covid-19 brought jobs into kitchens and spare rooms and began to erase the boundaries between home and work life.

Prior to the pandemic only around 5% of the UK’s workforce worked from home. This number has been steadily increasing, however Covid-19 escalated remote working at a rapid pace.

Described as a ‘lightbulb moment’, managers suddenly realised that jobs can be done flexibly, and employees can work productively when away from the office.

Many believe that the Covid-19 pandemic has challenged attitudes that were once against home working and has shown the way for less traditional working models to thrive, but will things revert straight back now that restrictions have been lifted?

As lockdown has gradually eased across the UK, employers have begun considering the future of flexible working. A number of employers have introduced new hybrid working policies, with employees splitting their working week between the office and home. However, others have quickly insisted that their staff return to the office full time, with no flexible working options.

According to polling from global research firm Gartner, 48 per cent of employees still expect to work from home post-pandemic, this is up from 30 per cent pre-pandemic.

There could be many reasons for this. Employees are now aware of how possible it is to work effectively from home and have learned how to use the technology that supports them to do so. Others have found that they have personally benefited from working from home due to reduced commuting time/costs and an improved work-life balance.

Hunter Dunning conducted a poll to discover how their connections felt about returning to the office post pandemic and the results were as follows: 22% would prefer to continue working from home, 11% would prefer to return to the office full time and 68% would like to have the flexibility of both.

In addition to career progression and pay increases, job seekers are now looking for opportunities to work from home, to spend less time on the train or in the car commuting to work, when their work can be done from the home office.   Whether it’s seeing their children before they go to school, a morning trip to the gym, or simply removing the stress of sitting in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam day in day out, lockdown has made many candidates reconsider what’s important to them in terms of their employers offering.

What we conclude from all of this, is that moving forward businesses will need to be open to offering flexible/hybrid working, in order to attract and retain the best talent in the industry.

What are your views on flexible working, is it important to you? We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

 

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