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Back to the future (office)

2020 probably isn’t the year everyone expected it to be. Many things changed, including a lot of forced remote working for many. All of a sudden we found ourselves seeing our colleagues’ kitchens, hearing their kids in the background and working with a nice shirt over sweat pants (admit it – you’ve done that!). As we’re unsure what the future brings, we can try to imagine how the work place will be changed, even after the pandemic. On LinkedIn I’ve come across many polls and articles asking the question: “When we can go back, how many days would you like to be in the office?” That question got me thinking: Is that the right question? Is it really about how often we’d like to be in the office? Or is it more about what do we do with the time we have in the office?

There’s definitely benefits to working from home that you wouldn’t have in an office. The aforementioned sweat pants spring to mind, and there’s a few more such as the complete absence of traveling time and the flexibility you gain. I’ve found myself – after a short period of getting used to the situation – to be very efficient and task focused when I work from home. I get things done and it’s easier to focus on what I’m working on. Another thing that might be personal is that I don’t always like calling in the office – I feel like I’m disturbing my colleagues. At home, that problem is out of the window!

Sure, I can think of some disadvantages too. When we weren’t allowed to meet at all, I missed the social part of being at work. We had group calls in the mornings and on Friday afternoons, but it’s just not the same as being in the same room. Apart from the social aspect (which is hugely important!), being together can also help creative processes during brain storming sessions for example. Simply put, there are reasons to meet in real life that we can’t recreate by going online. (Yet. I followed a very interesting session about virtual reality. But I suppose that’s for another blog.)

What will we do when this is all over and we’re all allowed to go back into the office? Like I said in the introduction, the question isn’t how often we should meet, it’s about what we do when we meet. There’s no point in going in in the morning to then isolate yourself for the rest of the day with noise cancelling headphones to focus on a particularly tricky document you are working on and dialing in to some meetings during the day. I imagine our future office time will revolve around creative and social aspects of work. Tackling a problem for the first time with the full scrum team, following a communal information session, or team building activities for example. And when I said “office” before, I think in the further future will need an office anymore? These activities could potentially take place anywhere.

We can go even further with this. Imagine if the social and creative part of your work took place once every two weeks. You’ll engage in some sort of activity together that has nothing to do with your profession. You could clean up the beach together, or go for a hike, or find a charity that you could volunteer for… Anything’s possible. Use this time to communicate and be social together. After this, you could set up a session where the team, or breakout groups, discuss things they need to discuss. Finish off the day with a dinner with all your colleagues. The rest of your time you’ll spend working from home – while being energised and excited from the team activities you’ve done and the new ideas you’ve discussed. This idea might seem farfetched compared to the way we used to work, but it’s going to be a brand new world pretty soon now.

How does this tie in with video recruitment, you may ask? Well, the main thing I’ve been thinking about is using your time together effectively, and your time at home efficiently. And I’ve also mentioned there are social and creative aspects that we can’t emulate online just yet. When your candidates have applied through an automated interview, your recruitment team can collaboratively review them at their own convenience while working from home. Even a following live interview can take place from home. But then: you’ll want to have a face to face meeting with your new hire, or maybe even select between your top candidates by meeting them in person. This would be a great occasion to meet together, introduce the team and make the candidate or hire feel welcome. Video recruiting is all about using your time efficiently, so that you can spend the time you save effectively!

We’re seeing a massive change in the way people are working, and that’s exciting and scary at the same time. As long as we keep asking ourselves the right questions, I think we can make sure team happiness will be at an all-time high, efficiency will be through the roof, and teams will feel closer than ever before.

Happy Hiring!