So here we are at the end of another year, but as you are well aware it wasn’t ‘just another year’. Lockdowns, Zoom, 2km exercise limits, and, of course, the home office — the global pandemic threw many of us into unchartered territory. And while there’s no doubt that we all experienced some difficulties, we also learned some interesting things about the way we work and the recruitment industry in general.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the positive lessons the tumultuous year that was 2020 taught us.
Virtual recruiting is here to stay
According to a survey carried out on recruitment practices during the pandemic, an impressive 65% of TA (talent acquisition) teams sent out offers to candidates without ever having met them in person. The same survey also found that 59% of recruiters carried out the entire interview process through video while 67% of employers implemented virtual onboarding for their new hires.
But perhaps the most important statistic from this particular survey was that 82% of TA and HR leaders believe that they will continue to use the new technology and processes at their disposal in a post-pandemic world.
In other words, virtual recruitment and hiring works and it is most certainly here to stay.
For recruiters and candidates alike, this is an incredible boon that could drastically reduce the average time to hire and have a positive impact on the overall cost of hiring.
Working from home doesn’t affect productivity
Well, that’s not quite true. It does affect productivity but not in the way you (and employers) might think.
Working from home and all that it entails can be quite the challenge. Throw in some family members who are also confined to the house and it can seem like an impossible task. But incredibly, many of us took to it like the proverbial ducks to water.
Fears of dips in productivity were proven to be completely unfounded and the workforce, in general, seemed to thrive in a home office environment.
A 2015 study carried out at Stanford University discovered that over a 9 month period, 16,000 workers who worked from home increased their productivity by 13%. Five years later, and in the midst of a global pandemic, a new survey found that workers increased their productivity by an astonishing 47%!
It seems that we certainly can get just as much done at home as we can at work.
Social interaction in the office is undervalued
While many of us viewed the opportunity to work from home as a pleasant break from the norm, not everyone felt the same.
The forced closure of offices across the globe highlighted the need for social interaction and how it impacted employee engagement and happiness.
We discovered that while some people enjoyed working in their PJs, there were quite a few who felt that they were happier in an office environment. These people may have remained productive throughout the various stages of local lockdowns, but they saw the whole experience as a means to an end.
Although many employers are now considering downsizing their office spaces and 37% are considering leaving city centre locations, they also realise that for some employees, remote working simply isn’t a good fit.
Work schedules can be more flexible
And by flexible we don’t just mean working from home one or two days a week. The pandemic showed us that employers can trust their employees to get the work done without having to be on the clock for set office hours. While one employee may like to start at 5am another may function better working late into the night.
We can expect this more relaxed approach to working hours to find its way back into office life. In fact, you may even hear the flexi-time concept mentioned in interviews a lot more often than before although we doubt there will be too many offices staying opening at 5am for those early birds.
Whatever happens, one thing we are sure of is that employers have learned to trust their employees to get the work done regardless of what time they start or any breaks they may need to take during their day.
Remote working is now an expected benefit
Remote work was already on the rise and prior to the pandemic we had noticed an increase in candidates hoping to have at least some capacity for it in a new role. However, while some employers were open to the idea, there were many that still felt that it was better to have all of their employees in a controlled office environment.
But, as you can imagine, the productivity boost along with an overall increase in employee happiness, saw those employers who were initially reticent, fully embrace the concept of remote work during lockdowns.
The result has been a significant change in candidate expectations with many job seekers now fully expecting to have remote work as a standard benefit. That’s not to say that they want to work from home full time, but they do expect to be able to spend at least a part of their work week away from the office. And so far, employers seem to be quite willing to agree once the role allows for it.
An unexpected benefit (or fully expected if you work in recruitment) is that this open approach to remote working combined with virtual recruitment has broadened the talent pool for many employers. Talent that was once difficult to source has just become a whole lot easier to find and hire.
Of course, many of us have learned things about ourselves on a much more personal level but one thing that we did notice about people in general is our ability to adapt to any situation. It really was quite inspiring to see how well we all adapted given how tough a year it has been. So barring an alien invasion, we imagine that no matter what 2021 throws our way, we will not only endure but thrive.