So, what a year, a year in which not a single person in the world has been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.
But with the increasingly blue skies an indication that spring is now firmly here (despite the odd shower, in great British tradition), we feel that now is a great time to look to the future and focus on some of the more positive developments that always evolve during times of adversity.
Necessity has always been the mother of invention, even during the horrors of Covid-19.
The technology has been readily available for many years, but many employers shied away from encouraging remote working under the mistaken belief that productivity would suffer. But far from being an opportunity to slack off, remote working has been proven to have a positive effect on everything from mental health to productivity, which ultimately will see improvements to the economy.
Now that almost all roles have been pushed to find remote solutions in the short term due to covid, this has shed new light on the benefits of working this way for both employers and employees alike. Remote working has been largely embraced out of necessity, by even the most traditional employers.
And while a move to total remote working is unlikely to happen, the likelihood is a hybrid situation will develop. A recent survey from Gartner found that 74% of employers intend to shift some of their workers to remote work on a permanent basis.
Along with the shift towards remote working, there has also been a change in mindset. Many employers now see the benefit of prioritising output rather than time spent. This change has meant greater productivity as employees focus more on their actual work, rather than “showing up for showing up’s sake”.
While this is in part due to the move to remote working, it is also a result of the impact of having to make teams work despite reduced numbers. Many workplaces have experienced the desperate rallying required to make workflows continue to function when people are off in numbers due to illness or self-isolation.
As is common, creativity can often be seen best in a crisis, and teams are finding new ways to collaborate in person and remotely to simply get the job done, regardless of where or how.
Sadly, many roles and companies have fallen because of the pandemic. But as the world begins to open again, this will change, and a recruitment boom is predicted. People will need to get to work, opening transport positions; education will also experience is a surge as students and workers need to get up to speed with the latest skills; and everyone is looking forward to getting out there and enjoying the hospitality and retail industry once more.
Recent ONS figures report a 16% rise in the number of UK-vacancies for the first quarter of 2021 and this is set to continue as pent-up demand for more talent, goods and services is unleashed.
Dyson famously switched its production over to ventilators at the heart of the pandemic, and they weren’t the only ones to adapt. Many companies have recognised that adaptability is not only crucial during a crisis but is also the key to growth.
Creative companies have had to find ways to survive as well as thrive and this trend will continue as customers and clients respond to the shifting needs of the economy and society itself, leading to greater opportunities to prosper.
There is also a visible shift towards more cross-sector collaboration, as well as opportunities for previously rivalling companies to join forces to find solutions to previously unheard-of problems. This has been seen in not only the fight against Covid, with Apple and Google coming together to develop contract tracing technologies, but also in climate change and sustainability.
Many employees are reporting that their entire company ethos has changed. Employers and colleagues are now building personal relationships which are built on a better understanding of who people are beyond the workplace. The impact of an employee’s personal life on their work (health issues, family problems, the fact that the dog made a mess on the carpet), is now more deeply intertwined with work, which has been found to make people more productive and engaged in their role.
And the impact on mental health awareness is also clear. A recent report from CIPD found that 7 in 10 employees reported that their line manager had checked in on their health and wellbeing since the start of the pandemic.
Corporate clothing is now largely considered “so pre-covid”, as people rock up to Zoom meets proudly sporting comfortable loungewear which was previously reserved for lazy Sundays at home. Many employers now realise that a tight corporate suit doesn’t necessarily make someone more productive.
The coronavirus has undoubtedly had an irreversible effect on society. But it’s already looking as if we might see the roaring-20s we had hoped for.
Now is a great time to prepare for growth. JMK has lots of solutions to support you in achieving your business goals, talk to us today about how we can help you.
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The Team At JMK
Since 2002, JMK have been compliantly consolidating back-office, accountancy and payroll functions.
We have evolved to provide a range of expert services; such as Professional Employer Organisation (PEO), or Back Office Support (BOS) or Funding, becoming a leading provider to the contracting industry.
We know every agency is different in some shape or form, even if only by a little, but important bit. Combining our knowledge and experience of multiple sectors enables JMK to support you all from recruiters and payroll, through to finance, compliance and management.
With JMK as your trusted partner, even the smallest team can process the largest payroll, regardless of payroll type.