Is WFH the Solution to Staff Shortages?

The impact on the labour market of Brexit, the pandemic and the subsequent furlough scheme is currently a very hot topic. Recruitment firms are advising of hiring challenges across several sectors of the economy, with staff shortfalls in key areas such as transport and logistics, manufacturing, hospitality and construction. Estimated as being the worst labour shortages since 1997.

As well as challenges recruiting delivery drivers and factory workers, chefs, kitchen porters, cleaners and warehouse staff, similar issues are being experienced in the typically higher paying sectors such as finance, accounting, engineering, and IT.

Could the adoption of WFH or Hybrid working be part of the solution?

In pre-pandemic ‘normal times’, the early exit from the labour market of those aged between 50 and 64 typically had a significant negative impact on the economy, not to mention the individuals own future financial security. As reported in The National News, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that if the employment rate of those in this age bracket matched those aged 35 to 49, this could contribute more than 5% to the UK’s GDP, the equivalent of £88 billion.

During the pandemic, a significant number of workers within the 50 to 64 age group found themselves working from home and were happier doing so, in fact, more than most other age groups. Typically, people in this age bracket retire before state pension age due to loss of job, personal choice or ill health. However, a significant percentage have indicated that they would seriously consider continuing working if they were offered the flexibility and freedom that WFH and hybrid working affords, compared to the ‘conventional’ 9 to 5 routine.

Organisations and Government need to consider what changes can be made to encourage this age group to reassess their early retirement plans and by doing so, partially ease the current and pending staff shortages, improve productivity levels, retain their much valued skills at a time of considerable skills shortages and give a much needed boost to the UK’s GDP.

Fact: 70 % of businesses are finding it more difficult this year to fill vacancies due to a lack of suitable applicants, according to a survey conducted by the ONS in early August.

The WFH Zone is the UK’s first online portal designed to assist organisations and individuals in the process of setting up to work from home (WFH) on a full time or hybrid basis, in the most cost effective and ethical way. Our service helps employers and employees find quality suppliers of a range of Services and Products specifically associated with a work from home zone.