Remote working after the pandemic – what do job hunters want?

Two junior employees at a desk using their work laptops and laughing

Every other company seems to be moving from the office to remote or hybrid working after the pandemic, but has anyone asked juniors what they think?

Before you make your final decision on whether to move to office, hybrid or remote working after the pandemic, it’s vital that you read the room.

The decision of whether to change your working arrangements is a massive one. What you decide now will impact your business for years to come, so it’s important to consider all angles.

While it’s vital that you listen to what your current employees want, it’s also important to keep an ear out for the opinion of the top junior job hunters because odds are, you’ll be trying to take some on soon!

To compete with well-known brands for top graduate talent, your social listening needs to be tuned in to job hunters.

That’s why I asked my junior colleagues about their thoughts on working from home. All of us have graduated in the last year with at least a 2:1!

Why you should consider the opinion of juniors

1 – Location has a big impact

The location and working arrangements that you use to advertise your vacancies massively impacts your applications, both in terms of quality and quantity.

We’ve found that vacancies with a very specific office location – for example, a town name – often struggle to draw in applications. That’s because few people will search for jobs by town – they’re far more likely to Google ‘remote jobs’ or ‘jobs in London’ than ‘jobs in Watford’.

At the same time, jobs that advertise with ‘remote’ as the location tend to bring in applications from all over the world, which isn’t much good when you’re a UK-based small business owner without licensed sponsorship status!

Not only that, but you’ll receive a higher number of irrelevant applications to sift through.

So what’s the solution?

It’s clear that we need to advertise accurate working arrangements for our roles from the get-go to draw in applicants that can actually do the job.

So if your role is completely remote, that will have to do. If your role is based in Watford, advertising it in London might bring in more qualified applications. And if your job is hybrid, advertising it as ‘London – hybrid working options’ might be a great compromise.

2 – You’re competing for talent

You’re in a battle for talent with thousands of other companies.

If these companies are more in tune with the wants of Gen Z job hunters than you are, they will get more applications.

Where you might value certain benefits above others, younger generations often have different priorities.

Top job hunters will often be juggling multiple job offers at once and some of the big deciding factors are benefits and working location.

So it’s important to ask them what they’re looking for and consider it before you make any big changes.

And although the choice of where your employees work is ultimately up to you, job hunters can pick and choose the roles they apply for according to their needs. So if your working practices don’t suit the majority of job hunters, you might struggle to get a good volume of applications.

Two young male employees at a desk in an office enjoying their working options.

What junior employees think about office, hybrid and remote working options after the pandemic

“I would prefer remote working as commuting takes up a lot of time…” – Eve, DigitalGrads Content Intern and 2021 Graduate

For those of us that don’t live near the office, commuting every day is a draining experience.

And ever since 2020 hit and every company began working remotely, commuting has become a choice, not a necessity.

“I would rather work from home. It’s easier to be productive because I feel like I have more time – I don’t have to commute for hours or prepare for it early in the morning…” – Selina, DigitalGrads Project Intern and 2021 Graduate

The point on productivity is massive.

Research has found that employees working from home are often just as productive – and in some cases more productive – than in the office.

This is something that can clearly be felt on both sides and that everyone can benefit from.

“…Once a while seeing people in the office is nice though!” – Selina, DigitalGrads Project Intern and 2021 Graduate

This is fresh in our junior’s minds because we all travelled down to Brighton for a big work meeting last week!

The sense of being part of a team can be hard to replicate outside of the office. For juniors starting their first proper jobs, this can be difficult to manage.

It’s easy to feel isolated and alone when you work from home, so optional company-wide in-person meetings are a great compromise. We hold these every month and it’s been great!

“I like remote working with a monthly trip to the office. It’s flexible and cuts down on travel time!” – Eloise, DigitalGrads Account Executive and 2021 Graduate

Flexibility has become a recruitment buzzword in the last year.

All people want to live balanced lives and that means that work has to fit around us – whether for the school pick up, a dentist appointment or a birthday.

Juniors are often parents and carers who need flexible working to survive.

“I would prefer office working with flexibility to work from home when I need it…” – Vidhi, DigitalGrads Marketing Executive and 2021 MBA Graduate

For some juniors, the social aspect of office working is exactly what they want.

Zoom meetings just don’t cut it – we need human interaction to feel sane. But notice that flexibility is mentioned again.

That’s because non-flexible working is outdated, especially to juniors.

Young female employee working at an outdoor cafe enjoying flexible, hybrid or remote working options.

A healthy compromise

Of my four junior co-workers:

  • 1 voted for office working
  • 3 voted for remote working
  • 3 commented on commuting in a negative light
  • 2 mentioned flexibility as a key priority

And me? As a 2020 graduate and full-time remote worker, I can tell you that I love working from home. But those monthly office meetings are something that I look forward to.

I would consider an office-based role that was within a 45 minute commuting time and offered true flexibility. This might look like coming into the office every other day as it suits me!

The thought of being put on a rota to accommodate a hybrid model doesn’t sit well with me.

I might be biased, but a flexible working policy seems like a great way to please everyone. You can have a smaller office space for the social butterflies on your team while opening your company up to global remote talent.

Even Apple doesn’t have a flexible working policy, so this will set you apart from the rest and hopefully draw in more top junior applicants.

At the end of the day, your business needs will come first. But it is always worth asking job hunters what they look for in a company before you make any big changes.

So, what will work for you after the pandemic: office, hybrid, remote or flexible working?

If you want to source great entry-level talent for your UK business, check out our hiring platform!