This past 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.
In response to the UK’s strong employment figures this summer, Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said, “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,”
A number of factors, including the ‘pandemic’, are causing serious staff shortages now. Businesses will have to think hard about their offer if they want to attract staff, not just in terms of pay but also benefits, working conditions, and work-life balance. We have the opportunity to shift perceptions around flexible working once and for all and make it a positive option.”
The pandemic came with multiple challenges
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 routine (47 percent), as well as a desire to “look 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.
In terms of inclusivity, the CIPD’s Good Work poll for 2020 revealed that persons with pre-existing ailments said their health had gotten worse as a result of the pandemic. The key to effective hybrid working models, according to the professional association for HR and people development, is ensuring that protected qualities are preserved as ways of working evolve, as well as ensuring that young people affected by these changes are protected.