Does a post-COVID-19 world look different for a recruiter?
The world of recruitment will change forever, once the COVID pandemic is over. Let us explore how by considering the following questions:
- Is work from home (WFH) a reality now?
- How will big and small organizations adapt to this change?
- Will WFH be a perk or a challenge for a recruiter?
Is WFH a Reality Now?
As lockdown restrictions are eased and people return to work, the question remains, is work from home (WFH) here to stay, or is it just a fad, a forced-choice, that companies are making until the pandemic is over?
It seems that someone has pressed the pause button in our lives. Suddenly, the frenetic pace of the average urban office goer, synonymous with rush hour traffic jams and face-to-face meetings, has changed. The office conference room meetings and hours of commuting have been replaced by endless hours of staring at the computer and incessant video conferencing calls. Say hello to the new workplace, your desk, in the comfort of your home.
In the last couple of decades, as our day-to-day work became more digitized, the possibilities of remote working have increased at a steady rate. With the sudden emergence and dominance of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the world had to retreat into quarantine. As cities after cities closed, with millions of employees stuck at home, WFH became an inevitable reality, especially for the Information Technology industry.
Leading companies across the globe are embracing flexible workplace arrangements out of a need to evolve with the times and recruit and retain the best talent. According to a recent survey, an estimated 8.4 million days’ worth of time will be saved in 2020 across the globe from reduced commuting hours. Staggered working or WFH also reduces the infrastructure needs of the industry.
There are both pros and cons of working from home. Let us examine some interesting data:
- In 2017, about 3.7 million employees worked from home worldwide
- Around 86 percent of employees in the US report they are more productive when they work alone.
- 16 percent of all telecommuters are employed in managerial positions.
- 82 percent of telecommuters say they feel less stress.
- Companies that offer even part-time remote work collectively save $44 billion per year.
- US remote workers avoid the release of 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by not commuting.
In 2020, these numbers increased significantly., According to Statista before the pandemic, 17 percent of US employees worked from home five days or more per week, a share that increased to 44 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.
WFH might seem attractive not only for the individual but also for the economy and environment at first, but making it the new normal will not be as easy as it seems. Lack of work-related social interactions can lead to loneliness and depression. A crucial part of the work-life is to build connections, talk by the water cooler, go out for lunch with coworkers. Life at the office can be hectic and calming at the same time. It provides an ecosystem for teamwork, companionship, and brainstorming. However, all that will be absent in the new work environment. Gaining experience at a workplace cannot be matched to gaining experience over a video or voice call. The younger employees are missing out on making new contacts and widening their scope of success.
Working from home can be challenging, as there is less structure. One may work too much, leading to burnout, or the exact opposite, where one may not get as much done as they would at the office.
It appears that while WFH has its pros and cons, it is going to be a reality, while many factors will determine the level of WFH based on the type of work and the industry.
One can expect some major overhauls, such as the framework of office spaces’ design may evolve to suit physical distancing and easy disinfection routines. This will allow for work in the office to overcome some of the cons of working from home. In addition, some techniques to overcome WFH challenges are to set boundaries around your time and space, so that “working from home” doesn’t become “living at work.” While the employees can work and cut down on their travel, the companies too gain in terms of lesser infrastructure spend. They can cut down on their leasing costs by having a portion of their employees working from home.
How will big and small organizations adapt to this change?
Many organizations have restructured their business model in sync with the continuity of the WFH process even after the pandemic is over.
WFH has become a more popular concept than it was about 5-6 years ago. About 60% of the employers are giving their employees an option to work remotely. When we talk about employers acclimatizing to this change, employee monitoring is the first and the most important issue. Monitoring employee productivity is not the only concern. Issues like hardware/software maintenance and safeguarding intellectual property are something the employers must keep an eye on.
Time management, often referred to by many as the most important element of success, is something that can take a blow when working from home. With no one to physically report to, employees can take all the time to just “get ready.” Employers can resort to time tracking software such as TimeCamp to track the time spent on different activities. Using tools like Zoho can help employers to keep a record of when employees log in and logout. Team communications tools like Basecamp can be effective for task and project management.
Different teams within an organization add value to the overall being of the organization. A strong and easily accessible technical support team will help in running the communications and work operations smoothly. Software tools like Zendesk for incident management help control resolution times and improve productivity.
Milind Lakkad, Global HR Head at Tata Communication Services, recently said “In great crises lie great opportunities. Our Secure Borderless Workspaces model, which takes location agnosticism to the next level, represents the future of work and will improve our associates’ quality of life. By 2025, we believe our associates will spend only 25 percent of their time in an office.” We have other such examples too, that point to a Hybrid WFH model where a company will have both remote and in-house team members.
Twitter has announced that their employees can work from home permanently even after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. Similarly, Google has extended the remote work policy till 2021. Most IT companies and Tech giants are encouraging most of the staff to opt for WFH.
Salesforce, a leading cloud-based company offering Saas services recently said that its Employees Will Only Come Into The Office One To Three Days, a Week, post-pandemic. They said that employees may work “remotely part or full time after the pandemic” and the company will scale back its “real-estate footprint as a result.” “Salesforce expects more than 65% of its workforce to come into the office only one to three days a week in the future, up from 40% before the pandemic.”
Those are some staggering numbers and gigantic companies like Twitter, Google has implemented this change and soon many more might follow.
Will WFH be a perk or a challenge for a recruiter?
Ever found a candidate who is an excellent fit for the position, but the commute is an issue? Location is an issue? Happens every day. Right?
For a recruiter, this is a challenge that can be easily tackled with WFH. If you find a candidate hundreds of miles away but the position offers an option of WFH, you have secured yourself a great placement. So, the search domain is not a 30 miles radius now nor a city. It is the whole country now and a candidate can even be found globally if the employer allows it.
A recruiter can find excellent candidates on lesser compensation as candidates often ask for lesser salaries/rates when they are offered remote work which is a strong perk for a recruiter.
But what if a candidate asks for remote work for the position not having a WFH option? A recruiter can get requisitions that may need security clearances, where a candidate must work onsite in cleared facilities. Most of these positions are with federal agencies where there is a high risk of security breaches and candidates cannot be allowed to work remotely. In these situations, WFH is not an option a recruiter can offer.
Having an option of WFH in a position is more advantageous for a recruiter, as a wider pool of candidates can be reached.
How can iQuasar help in recruitment?
iQuasar is a Northern Virginia headquartered company that has been in business for more than 15 years. We offer outstanding recruitment process outsourcing, proposal development, and IT outsourcing solutions to Government contractors. We have a strong presence in the recruitment business and have a team of about 100 recruitment professionals, who work on numerous projects, clients, and at different clearance levels. Our experience in both government and commercial space is broad and built on strong structures, tools, and processes.
Our team was quick to adapt to a new reality of WFH processes during the pandemic without missing a heartbeat. This is a result of a strong digital foundation in our people, process, and technology structures that we have established over the last 10 years.
The customers who have worked with us provide amazing reviews of our services and recommend our services to others. If you would like to know more, please contact us and we will be delighted to share more information with you.