Pandemic shows remote work not for everyone

'It's a candidate market right now… you have to treat your employees really well'

Pandemic shows remote work not for everyone

The rise of remote work or work from home or hybrid work has been well-documented along with the pandemic. And results have been mixed.

Many workers who have returned to the office have experienced the advantages of being on-site. Others have stated that the hybrid model is optimal in the future. Still, there are workers who would go as far as quitting their job if they are asked to be back in the office full time.

But preferences differ from person to person, says Steven Cardwell of Steven Cardwell Recruitment in speaking with Canadian HR Reporter.

“I hear it all. I get clients that I want to recruit saying: ‘I don’t want to work from home anymore,’ ‘I want to go back to the office environment,’ ‘I want to be with people,’” he says. “We have to deal with each candidate and with each company on an individual basis.”

There are also those who need more flexibility, especially parents working from home who may need to pick up their kids from school and prepare dinner for them before jumping back to work, says Caldwell.

But employers must meet workers’ desires and needs if they are going to hire the best candidates and retain their talent.

“It’s a candidate market right now… you have to treat your employees really well. And companies that have treated their employees very well from the get-go — when this pandemic started, allowing them to work from home — their candidates and employees should and will be loyal to their employer,” he says.

There is a lot of employee poaching going on right now, and this is forcing employers to better provide for their workers, according to another expert.

Boosting benefits

Many employers are upping their game to provide the benefits that workers need, he says. For example, one employer increased its cost-of-living allowance for retention purposes and gave staff more for daycare for kids if they were going to the office.

Another company is planning to hold a mental health week next year, with more than 200 workers getting a chance to talk to a counsellor in the workplace.

“Increasing benefits, this will go a long way,” says Caldwell. 

Amid the ongoing labour shortage, employers should pay more attention to the kinds of benefits they provide workers, judging by the results of a RBC survey.

Are employers meeting the benefits needs of employees? Not always, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada and TELUS Health.

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