16th March 2021

Is your recruitment agency ready for the great office bounce back?


The UK government has announced its route out of lockdown – and for many businesses, that means planning a strategic return to office working. But how will this impact recruitment?

While a reinstatement of office culture may create opportunities in many sectors, your recruitment business needs to help clients integrate new hires with returning staff. And don’t forget to manage your own strategy for getting colleagues back in-person as well!

Creating new contract hire opportunities

Many industries were experiencing a gradual shift towards remote operations before 2020, but the last 12 months accelerated the home working movement faster than we ever could have expected. And many companies have decided to retain their virtual set-up in the long term.

For some businesses, however, it’s easier to collaborate in-person – and some are already putting steps in place for a return to the office. According to research by Indeed, the number of businesses advertising new roles as ‘temporarily remote due to COVID-19’ has increased from 28% in November to 60% in February. Could the home working movement be a short-term situational change, rather than a permanent switch?

Companies giving staff the option to choose between remote or office working is a good thing for recruiters, as it creates new opportunities for candidates. Over the next few months it’s likely we’ll see more temporary and contract roles within industries that have had to close under pandemic regulations.

However, it’s important to help clients to consider the impact of hiring new staff as part of the office return movement. For example:

Equally, where companies have COVID-safe policies in place, you will need to make sure any temporary employees joining the team are fully briefed. 

Approach your business with a blank sheet of paper

It’s not just your clients that need to think carefully about the road out of lockdown, however. If you’re planning to open the office door again, your recruitment agency needs to help colleagues readjust to the physical working environment.

As part of this, you need to look at what priorities and processes seem outdated after 12 months working from home, and approach post-COVID recruitment operations with a blank sheet of paper.

For example, while staff may be allowed to return to in-person work, you still want to ensure people are social distancing. To do this successfully, you may want to invest in recruitment back office software, which enables you to take previously manual processes online.

The more you can automate, the easier it will be for people to work together safely. From digitising timesheets to running compliance and onboarding online, technology can help you develop a socially distanced agency infrastructure.

And recruitment back office software has the added bonus of making core activities quicker and slicker, so your team can spend more time helping clients to rebuild their businesses as the pandemic subsides.

Move forward, but tread carefully

If 2020 was the year we went home and stayed home, 2021 is shaping up to be the big office bounce back. For recruiters, the reopening of industries and reintegration of staff to in-person working will create new opportunities – especially if business are looking for temporary or contract staff to help them back on their feet. But we still need to tread carefully, as fears and anxieties around the impact of COVID-19 remain.

As a recruitment agency, it’s critical that you understand how the pandemic has changed your clients’ priorities, and help them develop a compliant working environment. Any new hires will need to support existing staff, and conduct themselves in a COVID-safe manner.

But while you’re focused on client needs, don’t forget that your own business needs reviewing as well. It might be time you invested in new back office technology to bring the best digital and physical capabilities into your workspace.

ETZ back office technology can reduce operational costs by up to 85%. Book a free demo to discover more.

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