Congratulations, you made it through 2020, a year that has tested all of us in so many ways.

Congratulations, you made it through 2020, a year that has tested all of us in so many ways.

Thousands of Australians lost their jobs this year.  Months later, some are still looking for work.  Securing a job can be a struggle, especially at the extremes of the skills spectrum, that is, the unskilled and inexperienced through to the very skilled and experienced.  Many have had to accept a much lesser position and pay grade in order to keep earning.   Then there are those whose industries became even busier this year.  Staff in these organisations have had to cope with increased volumes, whilst working from home, and for many, home-schooling at the same time.  908 didn’t survive the virus in 2020 and 820 of those deaths were in Victoria.  Sad as that is, we must remember to be grateful to live in Australia, where COVID-19 has been relatively contained.

Throughout the pandemic, we have surveyed our clients and candidates and monitored employment and economic data.  This allowed us to make informed decisions and produce blogs to feed that information back to you.  In November, we conducted our final survey for 2020.  100 companies contributed.  Here’s a summary of what they said.

Are any members of your teams still WFH?
18% of businesses are back in the office full-time.  82% are still working from home, but most of this group are in the office for 2-3 days and WFH 2-3 days.

Will WFH be a permanent option for staff in future?
21% of companies have already decided working from home can’t work for them as a permanent arrangement.  24% are still discussing it.  54% said yes, working from home was already in place before the pandemic, or it is now.  Most had a cap of 1- 3 days per week WFH.

Have you made staff redundant since COVID hit in March?
In our March survey the vast majority of employers were not planning any redundancies.  In November, things had changed.  54% said they’d had no redundancies, 46% have let staff go, usually in low numbers though.

Are you expecting redundancies in the near future?
78% of respondents weren’t expecting any redundancies in the foreseeable future.  12% said redundancies were a possibility and 10% said redundancies were a certainty.

Have you had to deal with any mental health issues this year?
40% of respondents had not noticed any mental health issues within their teams, but were monitoring behaviours closely.  33% of managers told us they had staff who had experienced mental health issues.  27% of organisations had an employee assistance program in place and whilst some managers weren’t privy to how many staff had accessed the EAP, others had definitely noticed a spike in EAP contacts.

Are you expecting to hire contractors in the first quarter of 2021?
78% of those surveyed were not expecting to hire contractors in early 2021.  12% said it was a possibility and 10% confirmed they would hire contractors in the first quarter of next year.

Are you expecting to hire permanent staff in the first quarter of 2021?
52% of respondents were not expecting to hire permanent staff early in 2021.  37% confirmed they would be hiring new permanent staff members and 11% said recruiting permanent staff was a possibly.

Are you interested in attending our Round Table events next year?
It would seem our Round Tables are pretty popular, with 90% of respondents happy to set aside the time to attend.  The overwhelming topic of interest for next year is managing teams who aren’t physically in the office.  Leaders want to know how to manage and measure productivity, engagement and motivation.  They also have concerns related to WHS, cyber security and where legal responsibilities begin and end when managing staff who are working from home.  We are currently scheduling Round Tables for 2021 to address these topics and others.  We look forward to facilitating these, now virtual, events.

We’ve enjoyed conducting this series of surveys and we’d like to thank all those busy managers who took the time to contribute.

Team MyHorizon have come through 2020 unscathed.  We’ve had no redundancies, despite the loss of half our contractors in March and the very quiet months of May, June and July.  Running a recruitment business in the early days of lockdown was a challenge.  I will admit to some dark moments when fear of the unknown got the better of me.  Thanks to the support of my family, my team and a liberal daily intake of alcohol over lockdown, we are at the end of 2020, liver intact and we have better systems and processes in place.  We are a strong team, we’re experiencing incremental growth in business volumes and our outlook for 2021 is optimistic.

We look forward to working with you next year.  Until then, if you can, enjoy a well-earned break over Christmas and the New Year period.

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