Enforced Remote Working – Reaction Verses Pro-action

Undoubtedly, we are living in uncertain times. With such exceptional external factors affecting nearly every global organisation right now, there is a need for continuous clear directives and leadership approaches with adaptable strategies to withstand whatever is looming ahead.

Organisations and small businesses are facing exceptional challenges, not least from dealing with the effects of the current Coronavirus outbreak wreaking havoc on individual health, staffing, organisational processes and services, as well as the issues surrounding trade losses, employee pay, job shortages and the implications of not having well prepared remote working capabilities.

Agile Working Best Practice & Updated Regulatory Changes

Those who have not already embraced the agile workforce model are now scrambling to adapt, which can be more complicated than simply providing a laptop to employees and telling them to work from home. There are all sorts of things to consider, including GDPR, health and safety, security, and the ability to trust each other to continue to work and behave professionally with remote and limited guidance and support. At times like these it is imperative to have trust, learn fast, adapt and to have the ability to be not just reactive, but to proactively work collaboratively towards a set of common goals that must be clearly communicated, directed, supported, executed and monitored. Due to so much uncertainty, the UK Government has also had to step up putting in place measures to assist businesses during this time. One of those measures which was announced yesterday was to push back IR35 reforms in the private sector to 2021. This certainly would have a huge impact for our current contractors and clients, and is a welcome removal of the added pressure for clients to decide on the status of a contractor who may fall into a medium sized business, as well as the extra paperwork required including the status determination form which would have otherwise been required to go throughout the chain.

The emerging workforce, as well as our service users, have been gradually for a time now starting to demand a more dynamic and individual approach to how we hire, how we adapt, and how we meet specific employee needs as opposed to what we solely want from them, and those organisations who have responded positively to this are likely to be in a better position to acclimatise to recent events. A less hierarchical, more inclusive and creational approach, as well as more autonomy in job roles, allowing guided risk taking, are all fast becoming successful employment strategies to attract, develop, grow and retain the top talent, and these qualities are exactly the kind of practices that are going to help businesses survive, adapt to, and even thrive during such uncertain times as these, whilst having to implement remote working practices.

Communication And Continuation

The housing industry is particularly vulnerable under these circumstances, and it is imperative that we take into consideration the needs of the most vulnerable in the first instance, and how we can continue to provide services safely and effectively, whilst supporting those who are most at risk during this period. Those who can and must continue to work on the front line and are vital to delivering the best care and service, should be robustly supported, and those who are able to work remotely given the right support and help to adapt. As ever, continued communication is key.

As a recruitment consultancy we are seeing different coping strategies emerging from various organisations, and there is uncertainty from some whether to continue with their hiring and recruitment practices already in process. In fact, if you can, we would advise to continue to interview your candidates, utilising remote communication methods such as Skype, face time, conference facilities and other avenues, (including the good old telephone!), not least to ensure continuity and smooth operational running of your organisation, but, in essence, what better time to find out how your potential future star players are able to cope, innovate and adapt to uncertainty and sudden change?

Greenacre have an outstanding multi-regional talent pool of interim, permanent and temporary professional candidates who we support and encourage to maintain resilience and adaptability to meet the demands of current and future trends and work practices. We have a fully agile workforce that is not only adaptive and reactive to market changes, but also versatile with a preemptive approach, and we instil this into our own employees, as well as your future star players.

If you’d like any advice on adapting your workforce to the current circumstances or are needing interim, permanent or temporary staff during this uncertain period, feel free to get in touch.

For more insights into Leadership, Performance and Change Management, Diversity & Inclusion and other current housing industry topics join us on our Insights page or follow us across social media to see the latest news and updates.

Alma Sheren is  Marketing and Communications Lead for Greenacre Recruitment, and collaborates with the team and wider network on Leadership, Human Resources, Change Management issues and the challenges and transitions currently facing the UK housing sector.

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