As we move into August it’s hard to believe how much has changed since the majority of us walked out of our offices back in March. Many of us had barely heard of Zoom or MS Teams let alone relied on them as part of our everyday lives and whilst flexible working was becoming ‘a thing’ the thought of a fully remote workforce would have been laughed at. But how things have changed - unprecedented you might say!
In a period of time that will go down in history and which in my opinion will change the way we live and work forever, I wanted to share some of my experiences, in particular how Covid-19 has shaped and in many ways changed the landscape of the tech market forever as we slowly but surely see the road to recovery on the horizon.
I’m no economist nor would I claim to be however following ‘lockdown’ the immediate aftermath was palatable and despite the tech market historically being more resilient to change than others (and in many cases being the catalyst for change itself) even it couldn’t withstand the initial barrage that Covid-19 brought. Uncertainty, panic and leaving many companies and people wondering, “what do we do?” After all, there’s no textbook for this (well not one I’ve come across).
Having lived through the crisis these last few months and seeing first-hand the devastation it’s had on so many people and businesses across the board, rather than digging up what we already know (i.e. vacancies down, recruitment spend down, etc) I want to focus on the future; what we’ve learned and where we’re going as an industry (well as I see it anyway) and in particular the positives we can learn as an industry and how we’re all adapting and redefining industry standards.
After nearly four months of navigating some fairly choppy waters, we’re now starting to see the mist clearing and companies talking with far greater optimism than ever and looking to the future with more confidence – and hiring! After all, until a successful vaccine is developed, Covid-19 won’t disappear so in the spirit of ‘getting on with it’ that’s exactly what we’re doing and in so many ways are embracing technology to enable the industry and the economy to get going again.
A huge part of the recovery and which I’m sure will continue to re-shape working practices has without a doubt been our adaption (whether we wanted to or not) to remote working - and what a seismic shift that’s been. I don’t look back on balancing the running of a business with homeschooling with great fondness (just ask my wife!) but if it taught me anything it’s been the importance of ‘effective’ remote working over a prolonged period, something that would have been alien to so many people before this crisis hit.
It’s also taught me and so many people I’ve spoken to the importance of having a clear purpose to our days, managing both our physical and mental well-being and over and above everything, supporting each other, both in our personal and professional lives.
How companies have adapted to the new ways of working has shifted beyond recognition, with the likes of tech giants Google, Twitter and Fujitsu offering remote working permanently and many others following suit. Office space is also under further scrutiny and with many companies building even greater flexibility into their workforce planning for the future, including increased use of hot desking, the days of the traditional physical office expansion have changed.
In a recent poll, we ran around the future of working from home, 50% of responses said that post-COVID they’d want to be in the office 1-2 days per week, 44% fully remote and only 6% saying they’d want to be back full-time.
That in itself tells a story and it’ll be the companies who adapt to the post COVID world who in my opinion will thrive whilst others less willing to adapt will find themselves going backwards. The rules have changed, and employers need to embrace them.
And with this shift, the approach to hiring is also changing. Remote interviewing and remote onboarding across so many organisations has broken down the barriers that would have existed before and in many ways make the recruitment process from both sides much quicker and simpler than ever.
It has also opened up a whole new talent pool for companies looking to hire with far fewer restrictions on location as a barrier and in turn, providing even greater options for the rich tech talent out there too so a win-win for everyone – well almost.
Tech talent now more than ever needs to be nurtured and supported and the winners will be those companies more willing and able to engage and provide a community (in many cases remotely) that keeps people feeling valued and with a clear sense of purpose that goes well beyond their day to day job, invigorating their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) at every opportunity.
There will, of course, be challenging times ahead and tough decisions for companies and people to make however the comeback is on and it’ll be the tech businesses and the talented professionals within the industry who will be a huge driving force in us coming through the other side better than ever before.
What do you think?
Would you like to share your opinion on the above topic? Connect with me on LinkedIn to start the conversation.