The hybrid revolution

The hybrid revolution

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the United Kingdom’s politics, social patterns, standard of living and economic markets. However, the market has emerged with an unprecedented opportunity to engage in the biggest ever work-place experiment.

The Market…
Over the course of the last 2 years it has become increasingly apparent that a worker’s physical presence in the office is less essential than previously thought. Gone are the days of the inflexible social structures that were engrained into companies with the belief that their employees presence was essential to a productive work environment. Offices are evolving. As companies reopen their offices they have a situation in which they must find the balance between the physical and digital worlds.

Today, 70% of managers have said that they are more open to flexible models for their teams than they were before the pandemic. When linking this to recent productivity reports, it makes sense. Social connectivity has an impact on productivity of employees, with those who were satisfied with their social connectivity 2-3 times more likely to have maintained or improved their productivity to those who are dissatisfied. Yet, for those individual tasks such as analysing data, writing presentations etc. 75% of employees say their productivity has either stayed the same or improved. Now, 57% of people expect to be in the office 10 days or less each month and 98% of employees believe that future meetings will include remote participants. It is clear therefore, that finding the right balance between these two scenarios is beneficial for all parties.

Role of Technology… 
Covid-19 has fast-tracked strategic workplace initiatives. A situation developed where companies, some who previously never even had an online meeting system or functional IT system were forced to work remotely.
In the office, the post-Covid workplace has had to be redesigned so that there is a focus on safety and hygiene. Touchless technology is being implemented and buttons and handles replaced by face recognition and cards. Sensors can be used such that the number of people in a building is counted to limit occupancy. These are just some of the examples of this enormous work-place experiment which is going on.

The concept of hot desking is also becoming a norm. The practice of allocating desks and rooms on an as-needed basis to allow teams to adopt this flexible work schedule.
Outside the office, the most important technological advancement see the bridging of the gap from remote to in-person staff through these new and improving online meeting systems.

Impact on Recruitment…
From the above it is clear that the future of work is hybrid. This presents both challenges and opportunities to reimagine the entire employee expectations from a job. Conditions must be created by an employer which allows employees to thrive in the workplace of the future.
With the shift of people going online it has become far easier to talk to people and set up interviews. Also, sourcing for candidates is far easier with a plethora of CV searching websites and more reliable and quick communications. The first stage of the recruitment process is easier and quicker. The issue from a recruitment side is that the final hiring decision places a significant amount of value on the personal skills you can only obtain in person. This means that although the first processes may move quickly, until you meet the candidate in person. This means there is a lot of friction in the market between meeting online and the in-person interview.

In an interview with Mackie Myers founder Owen Myers: “It is a two-way conversation. The outcome should be sensible, pragmatic and work for both parties. The candidate should not have 100% of the say, then again, neither should the manager. They also should not have a total mandate over the situation, it must be 50:50 these days.”

If the balance is not found, it will have a negative impact on the employee and the employer. A study of 3,000 UK-based remote workers conducted in March showed that 2/3 felt disconnected from their colleagues, with 50% then saying this had a negative impact on their job. Delivered well, however, the right hybrid working environment offers huge benefits for employers. Employees feel happier, healthier, more productive and less stressed, meaning they are more likely to deliver.
When thinking in a recruitment world, most employees want hybrid working! So selling that offering will help you to attract and keep a more diverse pool of good candidates. Talent is also far less limited to a certain location as it was previously, as recruiters you have a wider pool of candidates to attract than previously. This makes the future of recruitment an amazing and exciting opportunity!

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