How did the pandemic change working expectations?
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused lots of people to adapt to working from home. Although this was a big change for many people, it also opened new opportunities too. Working from home allowed access to the workforce in a way we hadn’t seen before. This is because it provides a much more flexible working routine for people, so inevitably there are more opportunities that arise. When employers begin to offer the option of flexible working, they begin to attract a wider pool of talent. Those who have previously been restricted by what they can do have more opportunities for work. This is key as an employer. You are showing you offer equal opportunities as well as giving yourself the best opportunity to find the right candidate.
Accessible for those with a disability
Disabled people make up 16% of the global population. Therefore, working from home opens up more opportunities for over a billion people who may have otherwise struggled to access the workplace. Back in 2021, #myaccessiblepandemic began trending on Twitter. The hashtag showed many people, particularly those who suffer from a form of disability, have benefited from remote access for work and education.
Prior to the pandemic, many people who suffer from a disability were expected to attend events in person. There was little consideration for any restrictions they may be facing. Previously, there was a relatively widespread expectation for people to attend lectures and events and go into the office. But now, more people can complete an activity with similar ease to someone who doesn’t have a disability. The number of disabled people who were exhausted before they even began their day of learning or work due to the effort of getting there, is something that was hugely under-reported and underappreciated prior to the pandemic. This meant fewer jobs were available to them, as they put such a big strain on some people’s lives. This caused a marginalised group to become even more segregated.
Therefore, normalising hybrid working, or working fully remotely is a huge step for those who struggle to access jobs or education. Using the #myaccessiblepandemic, people shared their experiences of being able to actually attend every lecture and seminar during the pandemic (and watch it back) as everything was available online. It also has helped people who need to manage pain, their mood, or anything else. They can be much for comfortable at home and take valuable breaks when need be.
Offering potential and current employees the option of working remotely full-time is a huge advantage for any employer. You automatically widen your talent pool as candidates are not restricted to where they can work or by any access issues. It also shows you are an equal employer. If you are seen to have good morals and an understanding approach to your employees, more people will want to work with you.
The main thing employees are looking for is choice. The pandemic has shown that traditional ways of working are not the ‘only’ way. Therefore, there is an expectation of people’s needs to be met. The pandemic showed that businesses can adapt. Particularly with today’s technology connecting people wherever they are. Something which was seen very rarely before.
Different for everyone
Giving employers the opportunity to work from home always seems good in principle, but in reality, it doesn’t work for everyone. To really get the most out of your team and ensure the most productivity, it is key you do what works best for you and your workforce. This may look different for each member of your team, or you may offer optional ‘in the office days’. The main trend to take away is fewer employees will settle or accept a situation that is not ideal for them. Working from home has granted access to many more groups who were previously marginalised. The best thing you can do is work in the best interests of your team. If you require any support with this, please get in touch with our specialist team.