We have recently been focussing a lot on the construction sector here on the Velocity blog, then I guess we would as it’s the sector we work in and every one of us has a strong passion to promote the industry here in the UK. So, this week I wanted to change it up a bit and focus on how the recruitment sector as a whole could adapt to the new way of working and what this means for the future. Recruitment, like every other sector, has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic but signs of normality are returning but like other sectors things have moved online.
Face-to-face video calls have fast become the norm, and no-one saw that coming pre-lockdown! But the anxiety that many people felt about joining video calls was soon overtaken by the anxiety of meeting people in person – they say necessity is the mother of invention and it’s taken a while for that particular invention to come of age – the first ever video conference was held in 1964! This new virtual meeting space is also changing rapidly, in just a few short months, the panic of ‘dressing up from the waist up’ for conference calls has dwindled, perhaps people realise that there are more important things to fill their brain with rather than excessive worrying about looking the part? I don’t know about you, but I do like to throw on an ironed shirt every now and then!
Everyone has come to terms that no matter how professional you are, it is now acceptable to just rock up to a video conference in whatever you happen to be wearing that day – even if that shirt or blouse is un-ironed. Where we draw the line on that front is one for the employee handbook – perhaps basic criteria needs to be adopted by all?
And, working from home poses another question for recruitment firm owners and that is: how we will address the new way of flexible working? If there is anything positive from the lockdown (certainly not much) it’s that employees have shown that they can work from home and productivity doesn’t have to suffer because of it. In fact, it looks like productivity levels have gone up rather than taking a nose dive. By not bookending workers’ days with several hours of commuting, a more relaxed atmosphere and flexible hours by working from home has proven a viable option for most office based businesses. At Velocity we are interested to see how this translates with candidates too. Could the full 5-day week in the office 9-5 be a thing of the past? And will businesses adapt to meet this?
What we could see is a shift in the market, where the candidate has more say in terms of their employment rather than the traditional route of the employer setting hard and fast rules. Some candidates may never want to commute again, this comes hot on the heels of reports that some on London’s biggest firms aren’t rushing back to their headquarters. And those that are will only be returning with 50% of the workforce.
The working world is changing and recruiters need to keep abreast of the situation and adapt as needed in order to retain the best talent. As restrictions lift and furlough ends I predict that there will be a rush on sought-after positions that offer flexibility as part of the package. These positions may look very different today than they did at the start of 2020.