The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the integration of many things in the working environment, from digitalisation to flexible working hours, from remote recruitment to virtual teambuilding. It also highlighted that although home office was productive for those who felt they could do their jobs from their homes, this was not true for everyone – and in fact, many people wanted to return to the workplace. 

Supporting this, a majority (81.4%) of employers provided their employees with a clearly defined and safe way to return to the office, and many (58.1%), also gave their employees the freedom of choice to return to their workplace or not. 

30.2% of job applicants were asked to return to their workplace for between 1-4 days per week, comparing with 2.3% who were asked to return full time, and 9.3% who were given options on their return. 

In general, 77% of job applicants were neutral or satisfied at the prospect of returning to their workplace, with only 23.1% dissatisfied, highlighting that people do want to return to ‘normality’, even if remote, or home office, work is possible. 

This could come from the fact that 26% of our job applicants currently in employment were worried about keeping their jobs for the next 6 months, with that figure rising to 31.2% who were worried about keeping their role for the next 12 months. However, the majority (35.1%) were confident they would keep their role for 6 months, with 33.8% confident the same could be said for the next 12 months. 

How has employer / employee communication developed during the pandemic? 

Over the course of the pandemic, employers had to communicate in different ways and on different topics to their employees, and this has, in some cases, led to issues for their workforce. 

For example, 54.8% of job applicants said their company facilitated working from home well and 41.6% explained the directions were clear on these new practises and processes, meaning they found these communications clear and easy to follow. 

However, when it comes to communicating on the financial health and current company reality, the number of satisfied people drops to 31.2%, with 35.1% feeling neutral – and 33.8% dissatisfied. This figure tallies with job applicants’ feelings about company communications on their vision of the future post lockdown/pandemic. 

Here, 24.7% were satisfied, with 33.8% feeling neutral, and 41.6% dissatisfied. This highlights the difficulties companies have found in being able to understand what the future will look like, explaining it to their workforce – and the impact the health crisis had on short, medium and long-term planning. 

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