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Flexible working is big winner of pandemic says recruitment firm

As the anniversary of the first national lockdown approaches – what have employers learned from the professional pressures of the pandemic?
Anne Corder
Anne Corder

Almost 12 months ago, working from home was unfamiliar to many, and furlough was a term most had not heard of.

However, despite the challenges, many businesses have embraced a new way of working which has led to more flexibility on their part – says Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment.

This has resulted in flexible working being the big winner of the pandemic; giving greater scope and opportunity for increased productivity to employers.

Anne Corder explains: “The approaching anniversary of the first national lockdown in itself gives little cause for celebration.

“However, there are a number of positives that have certainly been gained. Businesses that believed they would only be effective with workplace-based positions have learned that remotely based teams can, and do, function well. As well as seeing an increase in productivity, some organisations have also reported a fall in absence due to sickness.

“While pre-pandemic, a vast number of employers were reluctant to allow their staff to work remotely, and / or for long periods of time, they now understand the huge benefits of casting the recruitment net further afield to find the very best person for the job.”

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that as of October 2020, almost a quarter of the UK workforce were working exclusively from home. This, says Anne, means that location is no long as important a criteria.

“Flexible and remote working solutions can be seen as added value to an employer brand or proposition. There are rich streams of as yet untapped talent that have been restricted by ‘traditional’ working boundaries.

“Pre-pandemic, commuting into the office was sometimes seen as a stumbling block for employer and employee; with the uncertainly of public transport, adverse weather conditions and general travelling distance playing a part in the decision-making process.

“This no longer matters for roles that can be accommodated remotely. Candidates themselves are now in the driving seat; and we expect to see more of this as the job market re-opens. At interview stage, one of the key questions is around employers’ attitudes to working from home. Location is no longer an obstacle – staff have proved they can reliably get the job done away from the office environment.”

Anne added: “Recruitment teams and their partners can now increase their reach, using a vast UK talent pool, to support their clients’ new recruitment approach. Job boards need to recognise and adjust their geographic fields to allow recruiters (internal and consultancy) to get the role content in front of the right candidates.”