Embracing the working from home revolution

On March 23, 2020, the prime minister faced the TV cameras and told the nation: “If you can work from home, work from home.” 

And it was then that those of us working in IT and HR became recognised as the heroes that we are!

#WFH became a hashtag, a way of life, an enormous leap into the future for businesses of all descriptions.

Maxine Blackwell, HR director at Bensons for Beds said: “It would have taken our business at least 18 months to two years to meticulously plan, test and then roll out a shift to remote working but the global pandemic changed all that and overnight we had more than 300 people working from home.”

The transition hasn’t been without its problems: parents trying to home-school, individuals feeling isolated and disengaged. But there are also many opportunities: the lack of a commute saves time and money and the option to work flexibly and spend more time at home has been a big hit with employees.

No longer do you need to create a one-size-fits-all way of working for your entire team.

A recent poll on LinkedIn showed more than 60 per cent of employees wanted a hybrid model of working from home and the office, post-pandemic.

Working from home has also enabled businesses to cast their net wider when recruiting. If your employees are working remotely, what does it matter where they are? 

We’re already seeing clients accessing skills from Europe, America, Asia and South Africa!

Not only is there greater choice available, but salaries elsewhere may be lower, and you can make timezones work for you, too.

(I have a virtual assistant in Cape Town, working on my timezone, and another in Texas, who I brief at the end of my day, just as she is starting hers, and her work is ready for me at the start of my next day.)

But if Lancashire businesses have the opportunity to recruit from anywhere in the world, then Lancashire employees also have the entire planet to choose from when selecting the organisations they want to work for.

That’s not just recruitment. As we move into a candidate-driven market, retaining the employees we have has never been more important.

Now is the ideal time to ask your team what is working well for them, what would they change if they could, what is the biggest challenge they have right now. 

Involve your team in shaping the cultural changes, as technology evolves, and the world gets smaller, the changes are inevitable. 

Listen, and act where you can. No longer do you need to create a one-size-fits-all way of working for your entire team. That way of thinking has quickly become outdated.

So don’t get left behind. Be flexible. Be the employer that candidates want to come and work for. 

Just remember that if you’re changing how an existing employee works, you will need to  seek professional advice regarding their contracts.

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