31st August 2021

Hybrid-working vision: A new differentiator for which recruiters and clients need to provide clarity


Survey data suggests hybrid-working “not fit for purpose”

As businesses try to get back to some sort of ‘normality’ after the lifting of mandatory Covid restrictions, there has been a lot of talk about unfilled vacancies in the UK. Shortages of workers – evidenced by more than 1 million unfilled vacancies for 11 consecutive weeks – has been attributed to Brexit and the multiple factors borne out of Covid.

Unchecked, the effects of this could cripple economic recovery. For example, there is believed to be a requirement for as many as 100,000 heavy goods vehicle drivers. This is starting to impact the supply chain and disrupt operations of some big brands, including McDonalds which is experiencing shakes and drinks shortages, and for some fast food outlets serving chicken.

However, the problem doesn’t end there. Shortages of new workers is having a knock on effect on the workers that are in post. Factors such as longer hours and the hybrid-working model are leading to burnout. For many, the practice of hybrid-working, that is working from home (WFH) or remotely for part of the week or longer blocks of time, which has achieved widescale acceptance during the Covid pandemic, is proving to be highly unsatisfactory.

According to the report ‘The symptoms of dysfunction in hybrid-working – obstacles & solutions’, the responses from almost 50% of 2,000 professionals surveyed suggest that hybrid-working is not fit for purpose.

Key findings include:

One of the headline benefits of WFH has always been that it provides a better work/life balance, a significant factor in supporting wellbeing. So how could the practice end up proving detrimental to the wellbeing of workers?

Recruiters and hirers need to provide clarity on hybrid-working

A number of factors are believed to be responsible for the problems here. One of the key issues is that most WFH hybrid-working practice has been rushed out, with little research or testing. The perception is that companies needed to put policies in place quickly to meet the easing of restrictions has been a driver here.

As companies compete to maintain optimum staffing levels or to fill longstanding vacancies to overcome shortfalls, there is a need to make sure that hybrid-working practices do not undermine workers wellbeing.

There is a clear need for recruiters to provide clarity on the hybrid-working arrangements for the jobs they offer on behalf of clients. This article on The Freelance Informer examines the report in more detail and provides some hybrid-working tactics for hiring companies that may help boost productivity.

Survey findings also uncovered that 63% of companies have put hybrid-working models in place, and 40% of employees are yet to hear about their future way of working. The expectations of employers for WFH are also crossing into the contractor market as hirers want contractors to work to the same regimen as permanent employees.

However, the inherent dissatisfaction of employees means candidates for both contract and permanent hires have a bargaining chip to help them make sure the WFH expectations are agreeable and realistic before accepting an assignment or appointment. For recruiters and hirers it is an opportunity to provide differentiation in a highly competitive employment market where suitable candidates are in demand.

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