How Can UK Businesses Weather the Current ‘Perfect Storm’ of Staff Shortages?

Now, it’s certainly no ground-breaking news that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the very structure of businesses across the UK – one day we were all working in an office space, then suddenly (but expectedly) we found ourselves attending work meetings via the digital world of Teams and Zoom during lockdown.

Part of the tragedy that came with restructuring work ethics to suit the ‘new normal’ included the significant loss of jobs across the country. Which, of course, meant businesses have been faced with staff shortages.

However, now that we are emerging out of the pandemic and returning to normalcy, what can UK businesses do to manage staff shortages? Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise?

Continue Remote Work

The UK going into lockdown saw a rise of flexible working during the pandemic. According to ONS, 46.6% of people did the same job from home as they would have done in their place of work in April 2020. In fact, 86% of those who worked from home were in that position due to the pandemic. 

With that in mind, why not stick with this? Now that we have all adapted to the ‘new normal’, clambering through the obstacles of staff shortages, perhaps it’s time for businesses to learn from this historical event and continue to encourage remote working. Even for businesses that didn’t offer remote positions pre-pandemic, now is the time to open the possibilities and adapt to the new working world.

Allowing the room for remote working (where possible) means that those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic will see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of employment rates – we don’t know when the next immediate global crisis will happen, but by promoting working from home, UK businesses, owners and employees will be prepared for the eventuality after experiencing the rough Covid-19 pandemic.

The truth is, flexible working during the pandemic is here to stay…  

Who Would Benefit?

We’re no representative, but we think we speak for a lot of people when we say that many of us would benefit from a remote work ethic. If the pandemic has taught businesses, managers, and employees anything, it’s that it is still possible to function and produce high quality work form the comfort of one’s own home, thus proving that the typical 9-5 work ethic is transforming into something more modern and manageable.

Not just from a business stance, but also from a worker’s perspective. It is crucial, especially in these times, to recognise the importance of job satisfaction and mental health in the workplace. So, by working from home, employees are much less burdened with the stresses and anxieties that come with commuting to and from a place of work, where there is a shift in working atmosphere and a pressure of being watched by superiors. This benefit goes for managers too, as there is less incentive to keep a watch on employees to ensure they’re doing work.  

Furthermore, staff shortages mean that many people will have faced unemployment, so job opportunities that offer remote positions would benefit anyone without a job, even if it’s entry level. However, according to statistics from the BBC, the unemployment rate as of 2020 was at 4.8% – within this percentage includes young people at the ages of 16-24 who have been impacted the most, followed by those aged 25 and over.

Employing young people, who have struggled for job opportunities even before the pandemic, could potentially benefit businesses by helping recover from the economic crash of 2020.

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