Targeting IT Talent
The change in 2020 from being office based to home working has been a mixed blessing.
When recruiting 20 years ago, candidates regularly asked me if flexitime or home working was available with my client. It was a very attractive benefit to candidates. Over the last 10 years companies have become more flexible with office hours as candidate expectations of a better work/life balance has become the norm.
Maybe it is a case of being careful what you wish for. While some people welcome flexibility, for others it creates unease and uncertainty.
Many people struggle with working from home (WFH). For those that don’t have a home office space, they might find themselves working in their bedroom where there is no transition from work to home. This is often the case in lower paid jobs. Many miss the morning conversation with colleagues. Others perform better face to face and miss regular face to face support and development with their manager, especially if they are in the early stages of their career.
For some WFH is good and has its benefits. They probably have a home office with good technology where they can easily concentrate. They spend less money as they don’t commute and spend the time that they’d usually be commuting with family or on hobbies.
By contrast, however, many feel that creativity and innovation are more abundant when everyone is in the same room. The inspiration and communication dynamics are typically not the same over video.
A few companies have closed their offices permanently with the expectation that all employees will be happy to WFH permanently. However, candidates I talk to suggest that they would like to retain both options of working from home and the office, so companies doing this risk losing valuable talent as employees search for new jobs that offer greater flexibility.
New research from AVIVA found mental health has worsened over the course of the pandemic. In February 2020, only 38 per cent of respondents stated that their mental health was “bad” or “fair”. However, by August 2020, this number had risen to 43 per cent – almost half of the UK workforce. Although over half of employees (54 per cent) reported that their employer was working hard to create a sense of “company togetherness”, this communication is not translating. Only 15 per cent of employees stated that their employer is trying really hard to understand what motivates them.
So, to recruit and retain talent in 2021, think about your office space and what you will offer in terms of the balance of working from there and WFH. This will hopefully create a sense of company togetherness.
Maybe in 2021, people will no longer boast that they have a new job that offers flexitime, but instead they’ll boast they have a new job where they can WFH and go to the office too.
*This Aviva report ‘Embracing the Age of Ambiguity’ was published in November 2020. It compiled research of over 2,000 employees working in companies that have over 1,000 people. It was conducted on behalf of Aviva by Quadrangle and took place in February 2020 and was repeated in August 2020.