There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses, irrespective of their sector. On a practical level there have been changes in manufacturing, service delivery and procurement, but it is in the HR and recruitment spheres where perhaps the greatest adjustments have been required.

With staff on furlough, teams working remotely from home and seemingly endless months of uncertainty, the issue of wellbeing and mental health has come to the fore. The so-called ‘New Normal’ was inevitably going to have an impact both on employers and employees as we all adapt to a different way of working, but its effects are running deeper than anyone expected at the outset. For example, a recent survey revealed that 54% of companies reported that increased stress and potential burnout represent their biggest wellbeing challenge.

In reality, the ‘New Normal’ will be different for every business and – at a micro level – for each member of staff, as we all have our own preferences, likes and dislikes. And that makes things difficult for employers, especially if remote workers are remaining at home and only coming in to the office very occasionally, possibly for meetings. That said, this can present a huge opportunity for employers to work with their staff members to drill down and truly understand what wellbeing means to each individual.

As Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, explains, coming through the pandemic has demonstrated the need for employers to focus on employees as individuals rather than as a collective. ‘Over the last 16 months we’ve been talking to all our clients to ensure they are correctly resourced and equipped to survive what has been a uniquely challenging time,’ comments Rosa. ‘One thing that has been very apparent is how important it is to really understand each and every member of staff as well as their requirements, and that starts with ensuring that you have recruited well. With our help, our clients are ensuring that they have the right people in the right positions at the right time.

‘But that is only the start, especially now the Covid restrictions are being eased. We believe that now is the time to re-evaluate what “normal” means. The best way to do this is to engage with staff members, listen to their concerns and their expectations of what the office and working day will now look like, and to create an environment in which they will not only feel comfortable and motivated but which will inspire them to stay. Regular reviews can help with this as they give the employee the opportunity to feed back and request changes, and they can also help to maintain the level of trust that was built up over the various lockdowns. It can be helpful for senior management to develop a strategy for wellbeing as it now lies at the very heart of business planning. It’s not just about asking how someone is, it’s about creating an entire environment that supports and nurtures them whether they’re in the office or working remotely.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you are looking to recruit and retain the best staff members for your business, why not contact us for an initial conversation?