Last reviewed 1 June 2021

In a recent survey of nearly 600 members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) that have had to adopt new practices during the pandemic, many are looking to make longer-term changes to how they operate.

This is the finding of the IoD with six in 10 of respondents indicating that they plan to use virtual interviews for hiring beyond the pandemic while around one-third plan to cut back on office space and a quarter intend to make more use of flexible contracts.

Reflecting reports of increased remote working over the long-term, around 80% of business leaders said they would use working from home arrangements more in the future and 20% plan to make more use of co-working spaces and hotdesking.

IoD Senior Policy Advisor, Joe Fitzsimons, said: “Business leaders have had to adapt quickly during the pandemic. Recruitment and workplace behaviour have had to change to adjust to restrictions and uncertainty. Many organisations are now looking to see which pandemic practices may be advantageous for them to keep well into the future.”

However, he cautioned that, while there are many benefits to virtual interviews in levelling the playing field for applicants and increasing diversity and inclusion, these practices also place greater demands on the broader skillset of directors.

Organisations will need access to individuals with technical know-how, leadership and management skills and an ability to quickly adapt to changing workplace norms over the coming months, Mr Fitzsimons pointed out.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

Implementing new working practices will likely challenge businesses in more ways than one, and it will be interesting to see how these trends develop over the coming years.

Therefore, employers may see this change as an opportunity to learn, diversify the workforce, including at managerial levels, and unlock creative ways to problem-solve some of the recruitment hiccups they may experience post-pandemic.