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COVID-19 brought the working world to its knees and, with it, ushered in a new era of hiring and working. In-office workplaces and offline recruitment once dominated the working industry, but with new changes bringing about the need for digital accommodations, companies are being forced to adapt to a new, online society. Remote work has been the best-led solution for hiring among the pandemic and, with the end in sight, many workers aren’t keen on going back. 

There’s been a rise in demand for remote jobs, and if companies don’t start to fill the demand, they might be left behind.

At the height of the global pandemic, at least 40% of the workforce implemented some sort of hiring freeze or reduced hiring to keep themselves afloat — but it’s important to note that the hiring freeze didn’t affect all companies equally. While leisure and hospitality, and foodservice industries took the hardest hit, various other industries were able to thrive. Shifting to an entirely online model by taking advantage of virtual meeting and communication platforms, they found a way to simulate their office online without employees needing to leave their homes. By posting applications online and promoting the ability to work remotely, they essentially created their own hiring boom.

According to a survey done by Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. job seekers have gone online to search and apply for a job, and yet, 85% of jobs aren’t posted online. In the working world, who you know and who knows you are a worker’s most important asset. Networking that leads to a referral is the number one most successful way to get hired, but it’s a standard that’s near impossible to meet these days.

For students, networking means taking in-person internships and showing up to campus job fairs — neither of which is an option anymore. Virtual job fairs are an excellent middle-ground to get job-seeking students in front of you and are highly recommended for companies wanting to hire those looking for post-graduate jobs, but companies can’t expect the work to be done there. A shift to remote work is essential to ensure your company won’t be left behind. 

According to a recent FlexJobs survey, studies show that working remotely results in a better work-life balance and provides workers with a more productive work environment, resulting in fewer interruptions, more focused time, and increased comfortability, and only 4% of workers would prefer to return to the traditional office setting. 

But in order to have a successful remote working environment, you must set your employees up to thrive. Research from Active Minds concluded that COVID-19 resulted in a rapid decline of mental health within 20% of college students as schools struggled to adapt, resulting in loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression.

When switching to a remote working model, consider the ramifications of your choice and how you can create a healthy work-environment. Setting up mental health services, increased PTO, creating pathways for employees to connect and engage with each other through messaging platforms such as Slack, or shorter work hours are all things you can do to ensure the change to remote work is beneficial to both you and your workers.