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Flexible working will be key in the post-Covid economy

by maria

By: Roger Beadle, CEO, Limitless

In the early pandemic, we saw unprecedented disruption to the workforce, with many out of work and others needing to adapt to new environments. What’s interesting is that some sectors – including the customer experience space, for example – have been flirting with the idea of more flexible models, but only a small proportion have yet been brave enough to make the leap to a more efficient, innovative, and resilient way of working.

We all had the opportunity to be more flexible during the pandemic, but how many companies are going to go back to their physical office? How many will stick to a 9-5 schedule? For some, the traditional pre-pandemic routine could forever be just a distant memory.

The new normal

We’re seeing huge changes in labour markets as a result of the pandemic – the hospitality sector is desperate for staff, and so is the customer service space. The post-Covid economy is, in fact, bringing a huge reset in our work expectations and jobs that are typically ‘dated’ – like working in a 9-5 call centre or another permanent office based role. Although restrictions have now eased, most people have had their eyes opened to a way of working that far better suits their lifestyle – and they aren’t keen to let it go. As an example, in a recent survey we conducted, 97% believed COVID has driven the need for more organisations to allow for work from home models. Even the most traditional workers are seeing the benefits of switching to an agile, portfolio career.

Likewise, with the end of furlough drawing near, we’re set to see a new wave of earning opportunities for people against the backdrop of rising unemployment. Earning cash is no longer tied to the conventional workplace set up. Rather, there are many new and flexible channels in which to earn a wage, and many believe that it’s now important to have more than one source of income.

In essence, the past 16 months have shattered the myth of people needing to trek into the office every single day in order to be productive or pay the bills. With all this now realised, it’s hard to imagine a working life without such freedom’s. Whether this be due to opportunities for flexi-time, or simply the choice where to operate your daily role. For many companies, who have reported increased performance due these changes, it’ll be almost counter-productive to reverse back to pre-pandemic conditions.

A new type of working

Despite its turbulent history, gig work does hold promise for the future economy – particularly one that is to be struck once again by the end of the furlough scheme and the rise of individuals seeking a source of income. Although we can all agree that there are certain  HYPERLINK “https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56123668″aspects of gig work that still require  HYPERLINK “https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56123668″reformation to ensure that the needs off workers are prioritised – flexibility, agility and earning are at its very core. No doubt, a huge enabler of this has been technology, and its ability to connect a workforce and allow the continuation of work during the pandemic.

This is true for the gig customer service model. Workers can log in and out of an app on their own time, with no schedules or commitments – so they are able to earn when they want and supplement their income. This is especially beneficial for a broad range of demographics such as students, retirees, and full-time carers or parents. Squeezing in a 9-5 schedule can prove to be more difficult for these individuals. Therefore, options such as gig work are crucial and sometimes the only suitable channel in which to earn a wage. As such, the fundamentals of gig work spread financial risk and offer a practical earning solution for many of us, offering flexible opportunities that come wholly on an individual’s terms, alongside fair and equal opportunities.

Not to mention that this flexibility can actually combat the problem which attrition traditional call centres encounter. That’s because a flexible workforce is often a happier workforce. This happiness can shine through in the quality of their responses with customers too, benefitting not only the customer who has a positive experience, but the brand who reaps the benefits of customer loyalty and improved C-SATS scores.

The bottom line

The post-pandemic future of work is likely to take on a very different shape – and flexible working is likely to be a huge part of this. With just a few changes, we can ensure this transition into the new normal is smooth and, if we do this successfully, we’ll be one step closer to encouraging a workforce that is more autonomous, agile and proactive with earning opportunities.

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