Commentators often view the 1980s as the decade that shook up the labor market. But in the future, historians might look back at 2020 in the same way.
This year, the percentage of people working from home rose to an astonishing 42 percent, up from less than half that figure from the year before. A massive 33 percent were not working at all at the height of the first wave – although that figure has recovered somewhat since.
In light of this, we’re seeing some interesting trends playing out. Candidates are requesting remote positions, but are employers making them available?
Employers Are Working At Diminished On-Site Capacity
Remote work is becoming more common as businesses prioritize safety and continuity. Firms are worried that if large numbers of people in their organizations get sick at the same time, it could make it challenging for them to provide services.
Data indicate that some clients are currently operating a 30 to 40 percent capacity, compared to 90-plus percent before the advent of the pandemic at the start of the year. According to Magnus Meyer, Managing Director at WSP Nordics And Continental Europe, the typical office tenant has abandoned the idea that they need to utilize 100 percent of their premises to achieve profitability. That figure, he says, could be as low as 75 to 60 percent next year.
Mutant COVID-19 Makes Continued Remote Working In The New Year More Likely
Thanks to a mutant, faster-spreading version of the UK’s COVID-19 virus, many recruiters expect that the demand for work-from-home will accelerate in the New Year. The numbers of infected people are estimated to rise over the course of the holidays. And it is unlikely that the faster-spreading variant of the disease will remain in a single geographic location for long. On-premises staffing numbers in the New Year, therefore, are likely to be lower, and the majority of workers will continue working remotely.
If the new strain of the virus proves to be as deadly or more deadly than the previous one, then many companies will probably make their remote work plans permanent. At-home work will become the norm, and office meet-ups will become the exception to the rule.
Candidates Are Asking For 100 Percent Remote Positions
While companies are signaling that they want to adopt remote setups, relatively few are willing to go the whole hog. The vast majority of clients are testing the waters with a hybrid approach where employees go into the office a couple of days per week and work from home the rest of the time.
Finding jobs for candidates asking for 100 percent remote positions, therefore, is proving challenging. General laxity in the labor market means that the number of open positions is low. And conservative management at many firms is preventing the creation of more remote job opportunities.
Interestingly, if fully remote work is available, it is almost always on a contractual or third-party basis. Firms are happy to use skilled personnel for outsourcing rote tasks. But they want physical proximity when hiring employees full time.