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The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally disrupted workplace norms across all sectors, but the impact has been particularly noteworthy in industries such as construction and property. While many companies have transitioned back to an office-based model, the demand for flexibility remains high. Anna Roussos, Director & Founder of Roussos Recruitment, notes, "The question of flexibility is one of the most consistent inquiries we receive from candidates. There's an acknowledgment of the value of the office space, but people are still desiring the option to work a day or two from home."

The New Workplace Normal

🔸The Return to the Office

Over the past 12-18 months, most businesses in the construction and property sectors have found it practical and effective to return to in-person work. The benefits are apparent: enhanced collaboration, immediate access to resources, and a shared energy that can only be found in a communal work environment.

🔸The Persistent Demand for Flexibility

Despite the shift back to the office, Anna confirms that flexibility remains a key concern among job candidates. "People have experienced the benefits of remote work—be it work-life balance or reduced commuting stress—and they don't want to lose that entirely," she says.

Balancing Office Life with Remote Work

🔸The Hybrid Model

Companies have increasingly adopted a hybrid model, which offers employees the opportunity to work both on-site and remotely. This approach retains the benefits of in-person collaboration while also offering the flexibility many workers have come to value.

🔸Employee-Driven Schedules

ROUSSOS has found that more companies are offering employee-driven schedules, where staff can opt to work from home on days when their physical presence is not critical. This can be particularly beneficial for roles that require deep concentration or for employees who have familial responsibilities.

Policy Updates and Recruitment Strategies

🔸Emphasising Flexibility in Job Descriptions

Flexibility is not just a perk but a selling point that companies are including in their job descriptions. According to Anna, "Promoting flexibility in recruitment advertising can set a company apart in a competitive job market."

🔸Updating Employee Contracts

Contracts are also being rewritten to include clauses that offer both parties—the employer and the employee—some degree of flexibility. This ensures that the arrangement is mutually beneficial and adheres to legal standards.

The pandemic has reshaped the future of work in the construction and property sectors. While the return to the office has its advantages, the demand for flexibility remains a crucial factor in recruitment and retention strategies.

Anna summarises it best: "We're navigating a new era where the traditional norms are being re-evaluated. Companies that can offer a blend of structure and flexibility will be the most attractive to current and potential employees. It's not just about returning to how things were; it's about moving forward in a way that incorporates the lessons we've learned."

By embracing this balanced approach, companies can not only attract top talent but also create a more dynamic and responsive work environment, ready for the challenges and opportunities of the post-pandemic world.