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Covid Rules are ending - is your business celebrating?

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From 27th January 2022, Covid-19 rules are set to be fully relaxed in England - following the lead from Scotland who announced the same easing of restrictions from 24th January. In the biggest changes to regulations and rules since the pandemic began, from these dates there will no longer be calls to work from home or wear masks in public, and life will return - as much as is possible - to normal.

But what does this mean for businesses? And is your business celebrating the great office return, or will you be keeping some of the flexibility and WFH practises in place?

What the end to Covid-19 rules means for businesses

Over the past two years, businesses across all industries have learnt to not only work but operate completely from home. Across recruitment, we have seen the advertising, interview, and onboarding process all being conducted from home via virtual communicative devices - transforming the experience both for candidates and our recruitment team and making a smooth process more important than ever.

The same has been apparent across internal and external meetings, with the blanket ‘work from home’ policy removing the collaborative nature of working in an office and, in many cases, obliterating many organisation and business profits (the hospitality industry to name but one).

So, what does an end to these restrictions mean?

In short, it means businesses can finally bounce back into utilising their workspaces to the full extent without restricted numbers. It means that colleagues can come together again as a team, and that flexible working can once again become part of a workplace benefit rather than a necessity. Finally, it means that events can run as normal without the need for Covid passes, giving businesses back an important method of outreach and customer engagement growth.

But it’s not just the work from home guidance which is changing. The removal of masks in public spaces indicates a shift in attitude to the virus, despite the retention of isolation for those who have tested positive. A lot is changing - but what does it really mean for businesses?

The Benefits we anticipate

As a marketing recruitment company, the benefits we anticipate relating to the easing of all restrictions are simple - people will be able to interact again and this allows us, on the recruitment side, to build connections between candidates and companies. While a fully virtual system has allowed us to keep filling vacancies across all industries and businesses, with marketing covering such a varied and evolving collection of job roles, being able to meet with candidates and understand how they interact and communicate is a key aspect of the recruitment process.

For us and our clients, one of the core benefits will be the ability to once again show candidates a workplace environment where colleagues can come together collaboratively. And of course, it’s not just recruitment that will benefit. By enabling colleagues and teams to come together, the easing of rules will make working processes smoother, easier, and more successful.

Some of the other benefits being explored and discussed include:

· A better work life balance, giving employees back a level of physical separation between the workplace and their home.

· A boost for hospitality and inner-city businesses, whose customer base has dried up with so many of their regular customers working from home. The high street and city centres have seen huge numbers of businesses struggling and even going out of business, unable to find ways to keep their business afloat amid the lack of footfall in central areas. A return to the workplace will once again increase demand across these businesses.

Plus, there is the added fact that we are moving back to some semblance of our former normal, but with a greater understanding of what flexible working really looks like - and how well it can work for some employees who need a greater proportion of time spent at home.

How to make the easing of rules and restrictions work for your business

From a recruitment perspective, we anticipate that the coming months and even years will see a shift in the way businesses frame their operations to potential new candidates. Now, more than ever before, candidates want to understand and clearly identify the benefits of working with a specific organisation or company - with flexible working at the top as one of the most important preferences for candidates.

Another to consider is the opportunity for learning and development - both at work with on-the-job learning and through remote learning. And a quick tip from us - build learning and development into your recruitment and vacancy package and base these training programs around what employees need in order to progress and gain promotion. By creating a very clear end goal to training and learning, you will find that you engage more employees, encouraging them to make the most of opportunities presented to them.

As your business navigates the coming months, take things at your own pace. Listen to your employees regarding what is important to them and what they want to see in place in order to feel safe at work and build a newly revised benefits package which blends office opportunities and a chance to work from home as necessary or preferred. The more you can do to create a flexible approach to working, the better positioned you will be to embrace the return to the office without overwhelming your team.

For more support when it comes to recruitment, both now and as we navigate the return to what was once considered so normal, get in touch with our team.