This year, global people functions took a significant step forward. However, as hybrid working becomes more common, more needs to be done, particularly in terms of employee wellness and engagement.
As life returns to some semblance of normalcy, severe skills shortages are affecting every sector of the global economy. According to a Kelly OCG Global Workforce Agility survey, 58 percent of UK businesses think their ability to recruit people has deteriorated in the previous 12 months, compared to 41% globally.
“As restrictions have lifted over the past few months, we have seen employer confidence shoot upwards, and the confidence in hiring has reached a new record high,” commented Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, in reaction to the UK’s buoyant employment data this summer. However, the REC also signalled a warning to employers.
The pandemic brought many pitfalls
The shift to widespread remote-working (RW) and international remote-working (IRW) – and now hybrid working models – prompted by government health advice to “Stay at Home” during the early stages of the pandemic was widely praised by UK business representative bodies such as the CBI, CIPD, and the Institute of Directors after research found productivity increased.
According to the most recent worldwide productivity research, published in early September by workforce consulting and solutions business Adecco and based on the opinions of 15,000 office-based employees, 82 percent of employees feel more or as productive with a hybrid working paradigm than they did previously.
In the case of employee happiness, however, the evidence is equivocal. Some evidence suggested that people were happier working from home, while others indicated that combining work and family obligations had a negative influence on wellbeing.
Hitachi Capital Business Finance examined a nationally representative sample of senior decision-makers in small firms for a research released in September 2021. Eight out of ten parents with children remaining at home were optimistic about returning to work. Those without children account for 69 percent of single adults, compared to 53 percent of those with children who have left home.
The most common reasons were a desire to return to a regular work schedule (47 percent), as well as a desire to “appear smart/professional” and “be able to see/socialize with coworkers again.” These features emphasize the importance of employment in shaping people’s self-identity and well-being.