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Returning to work: Exploring short-term and long-term business outlooks

By: Paul Villella

Covid-19 changed the way we do business. We collectively adapted and worked to prove that productivity can remain strong. Now that the country is in the process of re-opening, it’s fair to wonder what exactly the new normal will look like at work. How will the workplace change post-pandemic? What should employers and employees expect? What sort of mentality will be required? Exploring the answers to these questions will prove vital as we move into a post-pandemic world.

Short-term outlook

Returning to work in the short term should look and feel comfortable when compared to the norms created by the pandemic. Some workers will probably remain remote, especially considering that remote work has taken a lasting hold on business operations. However, it’s more likely that, by the fall, a greater number of businesses will explore hybrid possibilities for their employees. These businesses will take a phased approach that combines the advantages of remote work with the necessity of in-person work. 

Though many companies, such as Google and Uber, have already announced hybrid work plans, hybrid workplaces will not remain the new normal forever, especially as more and more corporate leaders see the value in holding a return to the office mentality. 

It’s worth noting, however, that the Delta variant could have an impact on these return to work plans, making it more difficult for employers to bring employees back to the office. Google, for instance, recently delayed their return to work plans until October due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Long-term outlook

“If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”

These are the words of MorganStanley CEO James Gorman, and while they may be a bit blunt, they represent the return to the office mentality that shapes long-term business outlooks. This is not just a sentiment shared by corporate leaders either. A recent LinkedIn survey showed that 63 percent of respondents were motivated to return to work because it allows for in-person collaboration—a sorely missed aspect of physical workspaces that was lost with working remotely. Additionally, 62 percent of surveyed individuals said they are looking forward to socializing with colleagues and clients again. Employers expect in-person work to become the norm once more, and employees are mostly excited for the opportunity to end remote work, meaning a full return to the office can be expected by 2022 as long as Covid-19 infection numbers decrease by then. 

Full time with flexibility

It’s important to note that a full return to the office does not mean that employers and employees will forget the lessons of the pandemic. Covid-19 showed us that virtual resources can become vital quickly, and these assets have changed the business landscape from both a technical standpoint and a human perspective. Employees expect a greater degree of flexibility and understanding, especially when combatting symptoms of burnout and fatigue. This flexibility will take some of the best aspects of hybrid work—the ability to work remotely and change hours when necessary—and bring them to a revised in-person workspace. Because of this, it will be vital for recruiters and employers to stay up-to-date with and use the right tools in order to better support employees as they move towards a long-term return to the office.

And, remember, remote work isn’t going anywhere. Virtual recruitment can still be an effective tool by widening the talent pool and breaking down geographic barriers. Recruiters and their clients have greater access to a diverse pool of candidates, especially as more and more candidates are interested in and open to remote and hybrid opportunities moving forward.

Understanding short and long-term goals is a great step forward, but it can be hard to leverage this information when it comes to hiring. That’s where we can help. HireCapital specializes in finding quality talent and building collaborative, sustainable team environments. Contact us today to get started.

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