Now that many employees are working remotely, and with organisations getting accustomed to the idea, will that alter the jobs landscape for good post-lockdown?
This is perhaps one of the key questions that HR and hiring managers are pondering. Employers for their part will have to review their remote working and remote onboarding policies (if they didn’t have them in place, they surely will now!) just as much as employees have had to adapt their working styles.
Remote working is taking root. TTEC, the US based global customer experience technology and services company recently announced plans to create thousands of new remote contact centre jobs in the UK to meet a surge in client demand. And according to a recent survey by The Economic Times of India, 7 in 10 hiring managers are creating job descriptions and roles that are specifically for remote workers only.
Although many of us might envision returning to our ‘old’ ways, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we will work in the future. Not only have we had to change our habits but organisations too have realised that they can function without business trips or physical office locations. What’s more, they’re generating time and cost efficiencies.
The benefits of flexible working have always been widely championed, allowing employees to manage their time to fit in with family commitments – helping to achieve a better work-life balance. And as we’ve been seeing, the reduction in commuting time has come as a welcome relief to the time short worker. Albeit an issue of trust for some managers, workers are stepping up to the plate and going over and beyond for their organisations.
Yet while there are many benefits of remote working, there are downsides. Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, in association with LinkedIn, found that the majority of workers (56%) are feeling more anxious, stressed and isolated than they did before. This is especially true for younger workers, with 64% of 24-35 year-olds reporting a negative impact on their mental state. A culture of e-presenteeism is heaping pressure on them to work longer hours.
More employees though now want to work remotely. As a recent survey by US publisher getAbstract found, over 4 in 10 employees (42%) would like to continue to have the opportunity of working in such a way, with only 12% saying that the experience of being in lockdown makes them pine for office life. There does seem to be a strong appetite for change, and as we’ve learned from the crisis, it’s best to be prepared for an uncertain future.