FOCUS FEATURE The founder of Leicester-based Eileen Richards Recruitment,

who was awarded an MBE in 2018 for championing female entrepreneurship, has filled a number of roles during lockdown without meeting face-to-face and believes hirers should get used to conducting more video interviews. “It saves so much time and money,” she says. “It’s good

for people to meet at some point but maybe this could just be at the final stage.” Accenture has been among the global thought leaders to

promote the benefits of adjusting to a new virtual-physical hybrid way of working, led by a “people-first approach”. In the East Midlands, Eileen is detecting a determination

among the workforce to hold on to the remote working practices that enabled businesses to continue trading during Covid-19. “Everyone talks about the world now moving to flexible

working, but it’s actually going to be more about having some elements of flexibility rather than an entirely flexible working model,” she says. “It might just be something that allows them to work

from home on a Wednesday morning so they could take the kids to school, do a workout and work on a project. Or it could be three days in the office and two at home. “There’s a lot of people who want a better work-life

balance. I’ve spoken to some people in senior positions now saying they realise life isn’t all about money and they’d rather spend more time with their family than earn a higher salary without having that flexibility.” But she cautions against too much haste to ditch the office

life as the novelty of home working could soon wear off. She adds: “Sometimes change is exciting and we’ve seen

through your style of leadership – rather than just saying ‘these are the targets, let me know when you’ve done them’.” The Institute’s research also found that 33% of business

leaders believe companies will reduce the size of formal office space, and half of respondents expect organisations to invest more in remote working. While this could spell bad news for the commercial

property sector, Kate suggests shared workspaces could soon pop up in towns, villages and suburbs. Perishing community assets like local bank branches –

Kate Cooper, of the ILM

there were 3,303 closures between January 2015 and August 2019, representing 34% of the network, according to consumer group Which? – could even offer potential options as a way to keep them open. “We’re going to see ingenuity in the way that people

work together because what might get lost is the social aspect that people enjoy,” she adds. She expects employers to move away from sticking to particular geographies when hiring staff, while Eileen Richards MBE has already noticed a shift towards virtual recruitment.

higher job satisfaction in our surveys. “We’ve been able to train every day, had more time with

the family, and haven’t had to do the commute or eat at silly times. But we haven’t been in this for long enough to see what that outcome will eventually look like.”

As the staff at a global logistics firm’s Leicestershire depot roll into work each morning, they are met at the entrance by a scanner that takes their temperature. While scientists still don’t know what proportion of

people with coronavirus have a fever, it’s one of the most common symptoms of the disease so access to the building is only granted if the reading is below a certain threshold. The technology was developed by Peckleton-based Meridian Digital Solutions, which usually develops hardware for self-service machines used in shops, transport hubs and smart lockers. Covid-19 triggered the company – which was set up in

August 2019 as a UK spin-off from the North Carolina firm Meridian – to pivot into developing the personnel management systems positioned at the entrances of offices, factories and even the iconic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. They mobilise facial recognition software and managing

director Andy Viner says it’s an example of how technology can restore confidence among employees who are being urged to return to their workplaces. “If you’re asking people to trust you to bring them back,

you need to think about what you’re doing to make them feel comfortable. “They could be spending eight to ten hours in the office

each day, with lots of visitors coming and going, so having some sort of test before they enter can put them at ease.” The reluctance of some companies to jump headfirst into

a new tech-driven era of productivity could be history, with half those surveyed by ILM believing their organisations will invest more in remote working. Lee Johnson, chief technology officer and head of cyber

Virtual recruitment is heading for normality, believes Eileen Richards MBE

security at Sandiacre managed IT services provider Air IT, says: “Often it’s the most senior people in the business who don’t use technology to its full capability, but I’ve spoken to chief executives who are tech laggards and they’ve been forced to use video conferencing tools. “Now they can’t see how they operated without it and

businesses that wouldn’t have invested so much in technology are being propelled three to five years into the future.

business network August/September 2020 45

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72