There are currently a broad range of variables and moving parts for companies to ponder when it comes to considering a
return to the office. In the absence of clear government guidelines, most firms we speak to are opting to stick to the current working from home (WFH) option for now.
Since remote working became the new norm, we have heard a range of interesting anecdotes around how people have adapted to this new style of operating. Overall, people have felt positive about their situation with quite a few having found that their daily level of output/productivity levels have increased. Many are putting in more hours compared to when they were office-based (not having to face a daily commute certainly helps in freeing up time). Heavier emphasis has also
been placed on both information sharing and overall team communication. Interestingly, several clients have seen substantial improvements in this regard which has led to improved decision making.
A small number of entities appeared to have fully tested the WFH option prior to March and, as a result, were able to plug in and play with minimal teething problems. Going forward, we envisage most companies putting in place some form of staggered working hours with each employee maintaining a personal workspace, or, splitting their employees into different groups and having each group come to the office on a rotational basis. WFH will likely remain the new norm for the immediate future, with some investment management firms already announcing January 2021 as their earliest date for any type of office return.
Recent changes in the interview process
While many clients paused active interview processes in March, we have seen a lot of these searches restart in recent weeks. While it's unlikely we will be returning to normal circumstances anytime soon, many clients are now adopting a pro-active approach rather than playing the waiting game when it comes to key hiring decisions being made.
As one would expect, interviewing has been conducted via VC (predominantly Zoom), and overall, this has gone smoothly. The feedback from candidates has been positive, with many feeling they were able to have more open conversations than what one might typically experience in a meeting room setting.
With lockdown restrictions beginning to lift, we are hearing some latter stage candidates being asked to consider a final interview stage involving a meeting in person, when government guidelines allow that is. This will likely be in the form of a walk in the park or in some instances, playing a round of golf.
Are candidates happy considering new opportunities?
There is a degree of trepidation with candidates considering a move right now, with most wanting to be convinced that the role and the company would likely be an ideal match for their career. Others just find the idea of moving jobs in this climate too risky and are holding off on their job search completely until things return to a semblance of normality.
We are asking clients to be more specific in terms of what they can offer a potential new employee so we can present a more compelling career opportunity. In some cases, this includes highlighting career trajectory or elaborating on the growth prospects of the business.
How onboarding has gone
With offices closed, onboarding new employees has been challenging. However, most people have adapted well. We have seen a significant amount of training conducted using screen sharing applications.
Several clients are now looking to implement a couple of days office-based face time with both new employees and their respective managers. One obvious caveat for this to happen is that neither party uses public transport in relation to their office commute.
It is fair to say most people starting new roles since lockdown began did not sign up for remote working when they accepted their new job offer. Employers are doing their best to make the “new joiner” experience as positive as possible, with some new employees having been sent joining gifts (such as hampers) during their first weeks
Virtual team socialising on a Thursday or Friday evening is now becoming the norm in some firms. Here at OCR, we had our own in-house team quiz last Friday. Unfortunately, GDPR regulations don’t allow us to disclose who the winner was!
Overall, we have been really encouraged with the resourcefulness shown by many people in the industry and expect most firms to continue looking forward, even though much uncertainty will likely remain during the months ahead.
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