What is “presenteeism” and has lockdown killed it off?

“Presenteeism” is described as being present, as in, at the office in person, to complete your role and responsibilities. A new “buzz” word, one of which we are not sure if we like or not, but we will leave that to you. 

But the question is – “has lockdown killed it off?” We think – YES. However, not totally. With announcements from two financial giants in London recently, it seems that the policy of attending offices is diminishing. PWC decided to adopt a more flexible working stance post-#COVID-19, with its staff being able to adopt a mix of office and home-based work across its workforce of 22,000. Also, Schroders quoting “it is for the individual worker, whether employee or contractor, to decide “when, how and where” they work best”.

What are the benefits of this stance?

Firstly #WfH is more than likely to be the new norm for many, many employees, inside and outside of financial services, giving them a healthier work/life balance. It will reduce the cost of operations for employers significantly. 

But how will this play out for contractors?

We think in a good way. It certainly reduces the IR35 challenges when the Inland Revenue asks questions around who’s premises, who’s equipment and tools/methods the contractors use. It certainly makes a better case for operating as a genuine business, as well as open the door or opportunity for the contractor to support multiple clients at any one time, so long at the deliverables are met. Overall, we see this whole situation as a “win/win”, just not so much for the commercial landlords.

We have already seen a large number of our customers adopting the “#newnorm” and certainly adopting a more flexible approach to hiring and contracting. 

The main considerations for anyone (permanent or contracting) to consider when interviewing are the questions that will be asked around home working, some examples of these:

  • Is your home set up securely for connectivity via VPN?
  • Do you have a designated workstation and quiet room for WFH?
  • How do you ensure your work is delivered effectively and you are not interrupted in doing so?
  • Are you aware of GDPR regulations surrounding your working conditions, if so please explain?
  • How have you or will you report effectively on your deliverables to ensure communication is regular and current?
  • Do you have the right equipment and software licenses to perform the roles effectively?

There are still vast amounts of opportunities for organisations to hire exceptional talent, remotely or onsite, whether these be permanent or contractors. Whichever way you see if, a more flexible working style is being widely adopted and those not offering this, will fail to hire the best resources.