Post COVID-19 : Emergence of a new norm
On the 23rd of March 2020, Boris Johnson locked down the UK to contain the coronavirus. He had little choice! WHO confirmed that we were facing a Pandemic. Even the word ‘unprecedented’ has taken on new meaning. But what does this mean to you and I, the economy and people at large?! We will inevitably have to redefine ‘normal’. New social engagement, new processes, new systems and virtual ways of working.
Embracing technology and the virtual possibilities
According to Caroline Gleeson, CEO and co-founder of Occupop, post COVID-19 may see companies embracing technology in their recruitment practices in order to boost efficiency, efficacy and collaboration. Caroline and Steve Barnhurst, expert in recruitment technology, expect to see an adopting of virtual recruitment strategies for the full life cycle of recruitment from sourcing through to hiring and onboarding. Further long-term impacts to recruitment methods and trends post- COVID 19 discussed by both Steve and Caroline included: interviewing candidates remotely and onboarding new staff virtually; greater utilisation of recruitment technology; a review in employment contracts and employee benefits; availability of flexibility and remote working options; a workforce openly and actively seeking to reskill; more conscientious spending and frugality with regards to recruiting; a more long-term focus on recruitment strategy and budget; employers considering scaling down in physical office space to cut renting costs; email perhaps being dropped in favour of the more versatile communication tools such as Slack, WhatsApp, hangouts etc.
AND LONG TERM … ?
WFH has just taken on an altogether new meaning, across the board and on both sides of the Pyramid structure. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), has published numerous studies on agile and flexible working, concluding that such practices can help companies to attract talent and support diversity, as well as improving employee job satisfaction, driving loyalty, supporting well-being and enabling companies to become more amenable to change. In their study they further identified how flexibility opens up opportunities for skilled workers with caring responsibilities, disabilities, or health conditions to stay in work. Supporting their theory of flexible working, the Imperial College London published a report on how the working environment and culture may be impacted by COVID 19. In their findings they maintain how leaders should take the crisis as an opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation of their working systems and adopt a permanent digital working environment in order to increase efficiency, employee satisfaction (by reducing uncompensated time spent commuting to work) and attract the best new talent (what with flexible working being one of the most highly valued workplace policies). Matt Mullenweg, Chief Executive of WordPress and Tumblr supports this viewpoint, announcing in The Guardian that “millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick … this might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work”.
In their research, the CIPD ascertain that technology alone is not enough to ensure success of agile and flexible working, but the establishment of new norms, particularly around communications and collaboration is essential. New ways of working require investment in reliable communication channels and technologies, a moving away from traditional 9-5 five-day working weeks and developing a working culture that is based on trust. In their report, they highlight the need for managers to become more comfortable with judging people’s performance based on their outputs and not physical presenteeism.
Like all change, there are arguments both ways so let’s see what they are. Some of the advantages and disadvantages introduced by Gartner, the CIPD and NI Business Information comprise of..
https://www.businessleader.co.uk/how-has-covid-19-affected-the-recruitment-sector/82428/ https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/viewpoint/flexible-working-uptake https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/remote-working-top-tips
ONS. (2019) Internet access – households and individuals. Great Britain: ONS.
Susskind, D. and Susskind, R. (2015) The future of the professions: how technology will transform the work of human experts. Oxford: Oxford University Press