When office and home blur into one…

April 2020

Ed Stroud

Business Manager

Covid-19 is the single biggest challenge to the NHS in a generation, a pandemic affecting all corners of the world. As millions across the UK are now working from home, I wanted to share an insight into my experiences over the last few weeks.

Nearly 10 years into my recruitment career, this is my first prolonged experience of working from home. It’s against my nature, I love the hum of the office and unsurprisingly, I like working with people! In an era where a company is old-fashioned if it can’t offer working from home, this has rather suddenly been imposed on the vast majority of us.

From a personal perspective I’ve really focused on not settling into any unhealthy routines. 8 biscuits a day is absolutely fine (right?), but adding as much variety into my day has been really important. Regular exercise and offering help to my local community have helped break up my working day, which has allowed me to continue working effectively and with purpose when I’m back in the “office”.

The Allen Lane family have really come together too. Highlights include: a Spotify playlist (one uplifting song per day each) so I’m never short of background music when working; mildly chaotic Zoom company beers on Friday afternoons; daily email updates from our CEO; regular quizzes and hilarious team WhatsApp conversations. Find me a meme I’ve not seen yet, I dare you.

The highs and lows of recruitment are well known – the industry of ‘champagne and razor-blades’. This is patently obvious in our new world of seemingly indefinite home working. What was once a collective experience is now so starkly solitary. There was early frustration of interviews being postponed and recruitment freezes before heightened job satisfaction and the excitement of successful video call interviews and offers. The end of quarter party in my one-bed flat will be legendary.

On a serious note, I’ve always believed in offering an honest and consultative approach, supporting clients and candidates – it’s why I joined Allen Lane, a company that truly shares my values. With clients, we have supported new processes and posed challenging questions: “Are you really prepared to make an offer and hire into your team without meeting them in person?” That’s a brave step for any organisation to make without the right support and guidance.

Much of my time has been spent engaging with candidates, reassuring on the long-term health of the job market and coaching on how best to engage via video interview (top tip – look at the webcam, not the screen, as it gives a feeling of eye contact to the interviewer).

Conversations have been free-flowing and longer than usual, an amazing opportunity to share experiences of the unprecedented times we find ourselves in. Stronger relationships have been fostered as the conversation isn’t simply focused what opportunity I have or the usual trade of information.

Oh, and don’t forget the admin task – the original purpose of working from home, to truck through that niggling list of long-neglected tasks. We’re all up to date at AL. Check out our case studies to see some amazing examples of how Allen Lane have delivered in the last few months.

The great from the good will be established through this. The agency and consultant that provided an outstanding service and genuinely useful advice will be remembered long after Covid-19 “is sent packing”. There will be a moment when the market springs back into life, once normality returns. I, for one, cannot wait to be back at 33 King Street when that happens.

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33 King Street, St. James’s,
London, SW1Y 6RJ