Working From Home – Can it work for the Recruitment industry?

I recently commented on a LinkedIn post, which caught my attention. In brief, the post made the point that the yearly average rent in London was now £147 per sq. foot! My response asked the question I believe recruitment professionals should be asking - do we all need to be office-based every day?

In my 30+ years in recruitment, I have seen unimaginable changes in the industry, particularly in technology, but in other areas the change has been slow and I see too many recruitment companies still providing that “Gung-ho 80’s style Wall Street Wannabe working environment” for their recruitment consultants.

As someone who has spent equal periods working from home and being office based I have experienced first-hand both the benefits and the drawbacks of remote working.

I first began remote working back in the early 90s and believe it or not, technology was available even back then to allow this to happen! I won’t pretend that my first time was easy, it wasn’t, I was the only consultant working remotely and at first I missed having my colleagues around me, but I made regular trips up to Manchester for board and sales meetings and I quickly embraced the benefits of working from home.

Fast-forward 25 years and with the many cloud based systems that are available, which allow you to work anywhere, I see no reasons why remote working can’t work for most consultants. And for those Managers who have concerns about levels of activity, they can pull no end of system reports to see what work is actually being done from their home-based consultants.

Recruiting wasn’t a 9-5 job when I started my career back in the 80s and it still isn’t today. Working from home allows you to manage your day to be the most effective at all times and I can honestly say that working remotely hasn’t hampered either my career or my ability to consistently hit targets.

All to often I hear about employers losing their top talent because consultants need to reduce their hours or have to make lifestyle changes. With a willingness to embrace change and make a few adjustments you can retain your best consultants.

Remote working doesn’t mean never being in the office, team meetings, face-to-face interviews and client meetings will always present an opportunity to visit the office. And I fully accept that remote working isn’t for everyone, particularly those personalities that require close management or can only thrive in a working environment where they are feeding off colleagues.

The first time is always the hardest and will require a leap of faith on both sides, but unless employers in the recruitment industry become more flexible and diverse and take a long hard look at their remote working policy, their current office lay-out, and their willingness to embrace a change in working hours, I would question whether these companies that still adopt that “old school mentality” will be able to survive the next decade.

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