Can you believe it? January 18th is almost upon us – depending on when you read this, it may have already come and gone!

What’s the big deal about that date? Simple: it’s the Victorian government’s official return-to-office date, where we’re all finally cleared to return to the office (assuming no more flare-ups in the meantime).

Of course, after spending most of last year working remotely, things are going to be a little bit different when we all go back – you can’t just go back to the old way of doing things and pretend that nothing has changed.

Let’s not beat around the bush: it was a long year – but it’s also one that’s led to new trends and ideas about how (and where) we work!

If you want your transition back into working in the same building to go well, you’re going to need to make adjustments to the way you do things and account for these changes.

And as the experts in permanent recruitment in Melbourne, we can get you started with a couple of pointers…

Is work from home the new normal?

It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? And for most offices, the answer is “yes” – but not necessarily in the way you think

Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean that you should terminate your lease and permanently move to a 100% online set-up – there are still some things that just work better when you’re all working under the same roof and can physically interact with one another.

That said, almost a full year of working from home (WFH) has given office workers a lot more flexibility with their lives. You know what we’re talking about:

  • Not needing to commute
  • Being able to sleep in later
  • Having the freedom to run errands or conduct the school pick ups and drop-offs

Even if you plan on moving back to a physical office, many of your team members are probably going to want to keep the option – especially since they’ve got all the required infrastructure set up already.

That can take many forms:

  • The option to work one week in, one week remote
  • Doing a half-half split
  • Allowing remote working if an employee has an emergency at home

While work from home has its limitations and may not end up being the new default, you can expect it to become commonplace as an extra option – expect potential new hires to come in asking about your WHF options.

If you aren’t able to offer a robust WFH system, you can expect some raised eyebrows from interviewees!

Of course, that isn’t the only way office work is going to have to change once we return to physical offices…


Mental health is more important than ever

One of the most challenging parts of working from home in 2020 was the stress

Granted, most of it wasn’t directly the result of working from home – rather, it was from all the other stuff going on in the world.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that for many office workers, their mental health was considerably impacted last year.

While there were many takeaways from last year, one that falls to the wayside a little bit is the importance of mental health, and the role that managers and employers have in helping keep spirits high.

As we said before, that could mean:

  • Keeping tabs on mental wellbeing and morale
  • Checking in with employees on a more personal level
  • Being flexible and understanding when things don’t go according to plan

As you transition back to in-office work, you won’t just need to bring in office supplies and a new plant for your desk – you’ll also want to bring all of these with you, especially now that mental health is more important than ever.

How do you manage work-life balance while working from home?

Changing priorities

Mental health awareness isn’t the only thing that people are more aware of following almost a full year of working from home – work-life balance has also been thrust into the spotlight.

A lot of people have gotten used to being able to run errands when they need to, pick the kids up from school instead of dropping them off at after-school care or have simply gotten used to waking up later and not commuting.

There’s a good chance you’ve also gotten used to this!

Employees have higher expectations for work-life balance now – something you’ll need to keep in mind as you transition back to office-based work.

In addition to offering remote working as an option for those that request it, that also means rethinking workloads and making an effort to improve work-life balance, with more flexible hours and timetables.


How to prepare for the return to office work in the new post-COVID normal

Adopt a flexible mindset

As the last couple of weeks (specifically, recent events in Sydney) have proven, things can change quickly. It might take several months for things to truly return to normal – until then, you’re going to need to keep on your toes.

And that means being flexible.

When you return to office-based work, it’s imperative that your organisation is ready to respond to changing conditions, and that work isn’t disrupted if things don’t go according to plan.

Part of that means retaining a file-sharing or project management system that can be accessed both in the office and at home – avoid paper if you can.

Another part of that is all in the mindset – when making plans, always assume that those plans could change, and have a backup ready to go if they do.

Not only will it help you transition back to in-office work and coordinate a team that half works in the office and half from home, but it’s also good policy for responding to changes in your operating environment!

Remember, it’s a buyer’s market

Many people have been hit hard by COVID, and not necessarily healthwise either – job losses have been yet another defining feature of the year that was.

And that means that it’s a buyer’s market when it comes to finding new hires.

If you’re in a financial position where you’re actively adding team members, it’ll serve you well to remember that you can afford to be pickier with your candidates.

Specifically, you’ll want to choose applicants who are remote-ready:

  • Experienced with working remotely
  • Capable of working independently without direct supervision
  • Know how to use remote working systems
  • Have a high degree of computer literacy
  • Are able to adjust to new working conditions quickly

Luckily, that’s something a recruitment consultant in Melbourne can help you out with (more on that later).

How do you motivate staff when working from home?

One thing that’s almost bound to become a staple of the new normal going forward is WFH becoming a staple of most offices (see above).

And if you’re going to offer WFH as an option, you’ll need a system to manage your team while they’re at home.

Ideally, you’ll already have one ready and good to go – if not however, we strongly recommend you take at least some of the following suggestions on-board:

  • Checking in with your team on a regular basis
  • Using time and task-tracking software
  • Ditching emails and using instant messaging and dedicated remote management tools

Of course, tech alone won’t save the day – you’ll also need to need to make changes to the way that you manage your team and do things.

Our biggest piece of advice? Be flexible. Many of your team members have gotten accustomed to having more flexibility in their schedule and where they work – as a manager, it’s your job to account for this instead of trying to stick to one way of doing things.

Learn what else you can do to accommodate flexible working.


The number 1 team for your post-COVID recruitment

There are many employment recruitment agencies in Melbourne – what makes ours stand out from the crowd?

Simple: we’re committed to finding the right person for the role.

Other HR recruitment agencies in Melbourne focus on matching skills and experiences – we go further. It’s all about fit for us: personality, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, flexibility… that’s what separates a strong candidate from the rest.

It’s also something that even the best recruitment agencies Melbourne has to offer can overlook from time-to-time!

At QUDOS Recruitment, this is at the very heart of our process – it’s all about finding the right personality fit for your organisation and role.

Whether it’s a permanent addition to the team all the way down to temp work in Melbourne, our recruitment specialists focus on getting the right person for the job by:

  • Looking beyond “hard” skills
  • Performing personality and aptitude testing
  • Testing job-relevant skills

Are we the right fit for your recruitment needs going forward? Our 80% referral rate suggests “yes”! Find out for yourself when you get in touch by calling (03) 9821 4144 or click here to touch base online.