We all know the devastation that the current pandemic is playing on each of our lives. The fear, uncertainty and panic that has spread across the world as a result of covid 19 is unprecedented and has crippled the UK economy and devastated the lives and loved ones of those who have suffered.

In March 2020 employees that were not considered key workers were asked to stay home and save lives. Home working was made essential, almost overnight. Many companies struggled, folded in fact but those that impressively already offered this perk (all be it a small minority) stood up and shone as a beacon of hope for others.

Prior to the pandemic very few organisations offered remote working as a way of life. It was rare for that level of trust to be offered to even a company’s most loyal or successful employee. Relatively unthinkable within my industry and almost certainly unspeakable for that of an entry to mid-level new recruit. Of course, there were always a handful of the daringly brave who would try to obtain this exotic luxury but few succeeded.

Rather like an uncapped bonus, if an employer were to speak about the possibilities of home working during a meeting I would suspiciously and somewhat enviously quiz them on how many of his or her team were already given this privilege. Carefully determining the facts, cautious not to be responsible for lulling our candidates into a false sense of security in case it were just a sneaky tool to attract them to market.

Some years ago whilst in the midst of a merger and mass threat of redundancies, my employer dangled the future of remote working like a caramelized Michelin starred carrot. I needn’t comment on what it was they eventually served but much like a Michelin dish, most were left hungry and eventually left to find something more fulfilling elsewhere. However, for a time it worked and people sat tight rather than taking flight at the thought of being trusted to work from home. Spending much needed, precious time with loved ones by avoiding their commute and saving fortunes on travel each day, was understandably a huge lure.

Fast forward to February 2021 and with a vaccine roll out underway, businesses are all doing their best to courageously get back on their feet. Religious or not, we’re all praying for some form of normality once more! And so here we are, almost a year after we were asked to stay home and save lives. A year of remote home working made essential, no longer a pipe dream and instead a rather refreshing reality. This has caused me to reflect, what is the new normal? What expectations do employers and employees have for each other going forward?

Only time will tell of course but I suspect remote working is here to stay, long after covid has been conquered. I believe the forward-thinking firms that showed us the way forward back in March 2020, will have gone on to strengthen their remote working processes and technologies throughout the pandemic. I predict those that have followed will be the movers and shakers of their industry in 2021 and beyond, as there is zero doubt in my mind where candidates will flock once we return to the new normal… whatever that may be.

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