Navigating changing work environments

workspaces, environments

Since the onset of COVID, the world has undoubtedly witnessed vast changes in the recruitment and job market. If you’re managing a company and seeking help on how to best navigate these times (including how to maintain a strong workplace culture, find the best employees, and manage working from home environments), the below insights may be useful to you.

Creating the ideal workplace

Off the back of COVID, employees’ ideas regarding what constitutes an ideal workplace have changed. They are no longer governed by a “go to work, go home, pay the bills” type mindset which they once were. They require more from their workplaces, and they want to enjoy their time there.

People seek collaborative work environments, positive team dynamics and the opportunity for professional development. They want to feel valued and be rewarded for their work (even if this is just through verbal acknowledgment).

This shift from a “transactional type” work model has created a double-edged sword where employers also expect more from their staff.

In order to manage increased employee expectations, and create an enjoyable, mutually beneficial workplace, employers must maintain open communication with their staff and clearly articulate what their expectations of them are.

Finding the right fit

If you’re looking to scale up, but don’t know where to begin, the first step is to determine the exact role you need to be filled.

While it may sound obvious, you’d be surprised how many businesses can’t clearly articulate where its insufficiencies lie. This can lead to candidates feeling confused during interviews and can waste the time of both parties.

Clearly defining the role, and what you expect someone to bring to it, will allow you to attract the right candidates. Once this pool is selected, develop a list of questions that will allow you to find the best person for the job – after all, there’s nothing more costly than the wrong hire.

During interviews, don’t be afraid to ask candidates how they spent or are spending their time during lockdown. If they lost their job, did they use the time to upskill? Were they actively seeking work or were they happy sitting on their hands? Answers to these questions offer a lot of insight into their mindset, work ethic, and what you could expect from them as an employee.

Above all else, maintaining authenticity in the hiring process is essential. Companies with strong visions and cultures need people on board who align with this, so invest the time in finding the right people – or, if you lack the time, outsource the task to someone who specialises in this.

Navigating the WFH environment

Working from home – a trend fast-tracked due to the pandemic – is a major change businesses have to navigate which may remain, at least in part, well into the future.

While some employees thrive working from home, others may need a little push to ensure they maintain the same levels of productivity and work quality.

Employers should understand it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach and regularly check in with their teams. It’s important for employers to communicate their expectations and ensure they are being met. After all, you are still paying your staff a salary.

For employees, if you find yourself having to work from home, try to maintain your usual routine. Avoid distractions and don’t fall into the trap of not taking a break – get outside, stretch your legs, and eat lunch away from your desk.

Consider how you can fully switch off at the end of the day, ensuring boundaries between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ don’t become too blurred.

Ultimately, your staff are your greatest asset in business, so investing in finding the right ones, and ensuring they are happy in their work, is crucial to any business’ success.