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  • Leonie Beck

One Year On From COVID

One year ago today, I got the tube home from work and have not returned to the office since. In fact, in the last year I’ve been no further than my corner shop and I suspect for many, we have shared the same bizarre experiences leading up to the one-year anniversary of this new way of life. And now it seems we might be nearing normality, or at least what we decide we want our new version of it to be. What have we learned in the last year that we ought not forget?

Not for all industries of course, but for us working in Digital, the switch to home-working has seen little to no negative ramifications in terms of ‘Business as Usual’. Our work is conducted via the internet, and if you have a laptop and an internet connection, there is nothing stopping you. If 90% of duties can be carried out remotely, that has many wider implications for businesses and employees alike. You can hire anyone, from anywhere, to work for you if the role is remote. That means no geographical restrictions and the likelihood that you’ll find the best person for job. And for employees, your job no longer dictates that you live in a specific city and spend multiple hours travelling to work per day. You’ve heard of the work/life balance? With remote working its finally within reach!

The flip side of course has shown the true value of interaction and connection. I’ll bet there have been a couple of projects over the last year you just wish could have been done in person so you could bounce ideas off each other, or perhaps you made some new hires and thought how great it would be to welcome them to the team with a company lunch and give training face-to face. I know for so many, we can’t wait to re-connect with our teams and that’s looking like a very really possibility again in the near future.

So, what’s the answer? We’ve had an unprecedented opportunity to try a completely new way of life, will we stick at it? Or go back to “normal”? From talking to lots of people, including here at Olive Jar, a blend of the two seems to be of preference. It might be the key to unlocking new levels of employee happiness. And more than that, if companies can offer some flexibility, we’re looking at scenarios where employees have some choice and influence in building a job and role that supports the life they truly want to live.

And to a HR Manager, employee happiness is music to my ears! I’m hoping to hear lots more ‘music’ as the months progress and we find ourselves taking all we’ve learnt over the last year to plan for our new future.

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