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Drawing on the positives from the COVID-19 pandemic

by Maz Williams | 17 June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on employment as a whole, however as restrictions begin to ease in the UK, we are seeing things return back to some form of normality. There have been some huge changes within most industries and whilst some will be temporary, there are others which will likely be more permanent.

In this blog I will look at what has changed and the most positive aspects that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Flexible working arrangements

As remote working has worked well for the majority, the new norm for many after the pandemic could be a working week split between the workplace and home. Whilst this can save time and money on commute times, there have also been parallels with improved employee health and wellbeing. More and more businesses are now considering offering employees a choice, so those who do want to return to the office are able to and equally those who prefer a more flexible approach to work benefit too. At Sellick Partnership we have recently been given a similar choice in the sense that we will have three days a week in the office, with the rest being a choice of working from home or the office.

From an employee’s perspective, a working week split between the office and home presents invaluable benefits. With the option of working from home resulting in additional time saved from not having to commute, the opportunity to spend more time with children before work and as soon as work finishes is an unrivalled perk. Remote working also presents other fantastic benefits allowing more time during the week to dedicate to things that historically may have had to wait until the weekend.

Employers can experience higher staff morale which in turn has a positive impact on quality of work and productivity. Although it is the opinion of some and not all, some employees feel working from home allows greater autonomy, with a quieter environment that can facilitate more focused work.

  • Interviews and onboarding virtually

In the same way that flexible working arrangements for employees will become more frequent, a hiring and onboarding process consisting of both virtual and face-to-face processes will most likely become more common due to being both time and cost effective.

For many candidates, interviewing within business hours can be difficult and can often result in having to request annual leave to attend. However, with virtual interviews becoming more popular, candidates are now able to interview during their lunch breaks and after work, ultimately speeding up the hiring process.

For employers, a big positive with virtual interviewing is consistency. Interviewing virtually enables an employer to record the conversation at the candidate's consent. This ensures nothing is lost in the interview and can be an effective tool when comparing interviews and providing critique. Virtual interviews also offer a great deal of convenience with regards to both cost and time effectiveness, particularly in terms of access to geographically remote candidates.

  • More meaningful working relationships

Greater communication and collaboration has been a product of the physical distance imposed on working relationships. With social distancing likely to bring colleagues closer together, employees who have been working from home over the past 12 months will notice the importance of working together, team work and communication.

Having more meaningful relationships in work not only helps boost confidence to employees but it has also shown to help reduce stress and increase work satisfaction, productivity and loyalty towards the business. Employees may feel more connected to a company if they develop close working relationships and the friendly relationships between colleagues may further decrease the likelihood of individuals searching elsewhere for employment. Employees have the opportunity to work within a positive team in a suitable environment, whereas employers retain staff who have more experience to help with the company’s growth.

For further information or to assist you in your job search, check out our wide-ranging resources for candidates.

You can also speak to a member of our Finance & Accountancy recruitment team by calling Maz Williams directly on 0191 261 8585.