Four out of five businesses believe the workplace will never be the same again, according to a new report.
And over half of the SMEs polled said that creating a more flexible workforce would be of critical importance as the UK looks to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic.
These and other findings are contained in the ‘Flexible Futures’ report produced by Redwigwam, the flexible working community specialising in the FMCG, Retail and Logistics sectors.
The company surveyed 500 businesses as part of the report. Other key findings included:
- 45% said their businesses had been negatively affected by Covid-19
- 24% were forced to make people redundant during the pandemic
- 90% said flexible workers they have used have always been excellent
- 50% said flexible workers had been vital in helping them keep going throughout the pandemic
Lorna Davidson, CEO of Liverpool-based Redwigwam, said: “We are not surprised that 80% of businesses say the world of work has changed forever.
“We can see this from the surge in demand for flexible workers throughout the crisis and the conversations we are having now with employers wanting to create a more dynamic and flexible workforce for the future.
“The business leaders we surveyed believe a more flexible approach to work is here to stay and that once the crisis is over, businesses will be changed forever.
“People simply won’t want a permanent return to the office, and flexible working will mean business leaders feel more in control – they can invest with less risk and react more quickly to changing circumstances.”
Burton’s Biscuits is a strong advocate of flexible working. Wills Jennings, Burton’s Sales Controller, said: “There is an increasing appetite for flexible working as businesses have to re-evaluate costs and overheads.
“Flexible working becomes more important as it gives you the option to turn on or off as appropriate for the business.”
Lorna said that creating vibrant communities in the workplace will be key moving forward.
She added: “As the lines between our work and home lives become increasingly blurred, the need for purpose and belonging is a key component of our new working life.”
More than 130,000 flexible workers are registered on Redwigwam’s AI-powered online platform, while 4,500 companies are looking to tap into the Redwigwam community to find the talent they need. Clients include Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Burton’s Biscuits, SimplyCook, Proper and the Snaffling Pig Company.
Case study - Elena Sofonova, 23, from London turned to redwigwam for work after COVID-19 struck and she lost her job in the events industry. She comments:
“I was significantly impacted by COVID-19. Working in the events industry, which has been hugely impacted by the pandemic, I suddenly had no opportunity for work. Before the pandemic struck, there were many events planned but all of them were cancelled.
“I’ve tried to maintain an optimistic attitude but it has been tough coping with the considerable difficulties. I have had to make changes quickly in order to have a chance of a livelihood.
“In my previous job in the events industry I had a flexible schedule and was used to collaborating with different agencies in the field. I found redwigwam while searching for work on the internet and liked the fact that the company champions flexible working.
“My first job as a wigwammer was in March 2020 for the supermarket chain Morrisons, where I took on work in two of their stores. My job was to pick the goods from the shelves according to the list with the ordered products and to pack them ready for delivery. I enjoy shopping, so the job itself was a pleasure.
“As more and more people were starting to order home deliveries, it was a very busy time. It was a great initiative to solicit more people for this type of job as there were many orders. Everyone worked promptly so all the orders were fulfilled on time.
“How has redwigwam helped me during the pandemic? Redwigwam is a professional and reliable agency and being part of their big team of people is something special.
“I have seen first-hand how there are constant opportunities for work available on the portal. As a person looking for work during these difficult times, this speaks about how dedicated and capable the agency is to provide work in the field. I especially appreciate the support received from the agency during these difficult times. Redwigwam show that they care about their workers.
“The world of work has changed for ever. I’ve brushed up on my professional skills and focused on my studies over the last few months. With redwigwam’s help I feel able to adapt to the future of work and to face the challenges ahead.”