The pandemic outbreak prompted a huge number of people to seek greener pastures. Although businesses and politicians are encouraging workers to return to work in cities such as London, it will be easier said than done. In this article, Justin Small, the CEO of Future Strategy Club, discusses ways businesses can encourage their staff back.
What the UK government has deemed as Freedom Day is rapidly approaching and seems to have divided peoples opinions. In some eyes, the government has said “Fay Knights” and simply moved the onus of responsibility onto the people; others will look upon the move as a positive as the longer the restrictions continue, the bigger the impact it has on their finances. Whether you feel it’s the right or wrong thing to do, there will always be a considerable number who’ll have an opposing opinion.
For some people, the thought of returning to an office will be filled with dread. After all, there’s still a virus in the air, and not everyone will be convinced they will be immune to its effects. Getting everyone back into the office will be far from a simple task and given how positively working from has been received in some quarters, it will need some creative thinking.
During the pandemic, a mass exodus from London saw more than 2 million people move away from the capital. In light of this and according to a survey of big recruitment firms, the number of permanent jobs available in England rose at its fastest rate since 1997 June as the economy reopened. But at the same time, the availability of workers hit a 24-year low – with there now being a steep increase in demand for permanent private sector staff.
This data comes after Brexit, the furlough scheme and COVID-19, which provided a forced career hiatus for many employees who went from the traditional work schedule to flexible working practices. This freedom has allowed employees to re-evaluate their career path, and as such, talent is making a lifestyle pivot, with data by Future Strategy Club revealing that 57% of Brits do not want to return to a previous 9-5 construct.
If firms want to attract and retain talented employees, they must make the office more appealing to the UK workforce. This means balancing the external environment – from new government guidelines to a rise in COVID-19 cases – with an internal strategy that puts employees needs first and foremost.
Justin Small, CEO of Future Strategy Club, discusses how firms can support and entice staff back:
“Despite the ‘substantial increases’ in permanent and temporary job vacancies across the Midlands, the South, London and the North, 57% of the UK workforce do not want to return to a corporate 9-5 role post-pandemic. As top talent has left their place of employment when lockdown restrictions lifted and cannot be enticed back, firms will face a talent crisis and run the risk of losing their competitive edge because of it. This means it is now essential that the UK workforce becomes more enticing for its employees.
Yet short-term solutions and office perks are simply not enough to encourage the UK workforce back to the office, with the benefit of these perks often short-lived. What really matters in a firm is cultivating a culture of innovation and autonomy – this is the key to preserving employees well-being post-pandemic and retaining your best talent.
How should firms plan ahead in a continuously disrupted world? How can they be certain the decisions they are making now will be right in the next few months, let alone the next few years? Firms right now cannot predict the future, but they can look forwards and shape it. Now, businesses can source creative freelancers who are unphased by the acute challenges in how we are doing business today. This will not only enrich a team and drive fresh results, but help businesses recalibrate and survive the effects of the Covid pandemic.”
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