Most people looking for flexible work as we emerge from the latest lockdown are having to brush up on their skills.

At redwigwam we carried out a study and discovered that as Covid-19 lockdown measures are eased 82% of workers are looking to learn new skills to give themselves the best chance of job success.

The upskilling most in demand was digital capability (59%), followed by using excel (49%), entrepreneurialism (45%), CV writing (32%) and rocking a job interview (31%).

Of those we surveyed, 43% described themselves as working with no dependents and 20% were working parents. And it makes sense, because tomorrow’s workers need to be as flexible as possible.

We chat to our workers on a regular basis and we’re hearing a growing appetite for flexible working whether that’s working for a few hours a day, a day a week or more permanently — people want to be in control.

Lockdown has shown us all a new way of working, enabling many of us to combine working from home with office or location-based work. As long as the job gets done, the old rigid working hours of 9-5 should be a thing of the past.

Like many organizations, we’re championing more flexibility for our workers, not just in the work they do but in how they balance it with their lifestyles. We trust our people to get the job done whether they are in the office or not.

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And there’s no reason why people can’t build time in their day to go to the gym or take a lunchtime walk, for instance, and work either side of it.

I think businesses can do much more to foster a hybrid work strategy. Bank holidays, for example, are always mayhem for a business and I’d like to see people being able to take their eight bank holiday days whenever they like in the year.

People want to work for companies that they are proud of and we have all got to be better employers.

Over the past year, we have taken people on we have never met and had to induct and onboard them all online. We’ve had to find new ways of recruiting and retaining great talent, training our people virtually and ensuring employee wellbeing.

Workers need the chance to upskill — something our survey made clear is a major requirement as we start to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic — and hirers will also benefit as the workers they need to recruit will be better equipped to meet their needs.

We’re making a big effort to recognize milestones and to celebrate success — easy to do when you bump into someone by the water cooler, but harder to do when you’re all on Teams and working from home.

I don’t think you can underestimate how nervous people are about going back to the office. We’ve all become accustomed to working from home — I live in my flip-flops and can’t remember the last time I wore shoes! – our social skills are rusty and our confidence may be a little low.

Our first focused day back in the office was this week and I couldn’t wait to see our people physically working in teams and back together again — even if it is a new hybrid model and only for set days every week.

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