Eloise’s November 2020 News – Lockdown lessons, Benefits, POTUS and Elves

Hello and welcome to November

Wow, November. If I had written my blog just a few days ago it would have been a very different story. At the end of October we seemed to be going one way, and then all of a sudden here we are in another national lockdown! This time however although some businesses are being forced to close many others remain open with employees working from home where they can. It’s not quite as severe a lockdown as last time with schools, universities and nurseries staying open, which allows for more people to continue work without the worry of childcare. Just like before communication is a little sparing and seemingly coming in chunks. There are also different rules and restrictions across the British Isles, so we will have to wait and see what impact this lockdown has on the local and national economy. Altogether a confusing time with nobody having any definitive answers about the immediate and long term future, although nobody that I meet seems short of an opinion at the moment :).

The new rules for the latest lockdown

From Thursday 5th November, England will enter its second national lockdown – but although it might seem like a repeat there are some differences from our March experience.

  • The biggest change for children in England is that schools will stay open, so they will still be able to see their friends and learn and thankfully we don’t have to re-open our home-schooling classrooms
  • Another big difference is that adults can meet one person from another household outside to exercise or sit in a park. Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.
  • Playgrounds won’t close
  • Elderly and vulnerable will not be ordered to ‘shield’
  • Travelling to holiday homes isn’t allowed
  • Childminders can carry on working ‘Childcare bubbles’ will also still be allowed, which means if your parents normally look after your children after school (like mine) you can continue to do so!
  • Garden centres will remain open

What have we learned from the first lockdown?

Reflecting on the first lockdown here in the UK what have we learnt to help us stay healthy and positive over the next four weeks.

Well, unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the past eight months, we’ve already experienced many months of adapting to the “new normal” so much so that it’s taught us a few lessons for our winter lockdown experience.

Stockpiling strains your cupboards (and your waistline!) so don’t do it. At the beginning of the first lockdown, let’s admit it, we all shopped like we were stocking up for Christmas. And even then, on a normal festive period with all the family round we’ve never needed even a 1/4 of the toilet rolls shoppers were seen grabbing in March. Aside from depriving vulnerable people of the food they need, we’ve learnt a stockpiling big shop, isn’t needed as supermarkets have enough, we can use small independent shops which I found always had the basics and then, of course, we have the online options.

We’ve learned to cook – anything from DIY pizza to banana bread. Staying healthy is closely linked to what we eat, spending more time at home can mean we have more time to cook and prepare proper meals.

Mix up the communication methods. Having learnt the importance of talking and staying connected we’ve discovered that it’s best to mix it up rather than just sitting on back to back video calls. We have all struggled with zoom fatigue, so mix up your communications with video chats as well as the good old-fashioned telephone. You can refresh your memory on our top tips for successful home working https://www.vanillarecruitment.co.uk/client-recruitment-advice/vanillas-10-tips-for-working-from-home/

Walking, riding a bike – and P.E with Joe Wicks is the easiest enjoyable form of exercise. We don’t need to splurge out on expensive at-home gym equipment or going to a gym to stay fit and healthy. Having one hour a day daily exercise taught us that putting anything on other than our trainers was a complete waste of time. As we shunned public transport for fresh air, our lungs and cardio, felt the difference.  This time with dark mornings and evenings drawing in try and get outside in your lunch break. One of our clients is even offering an extra 15 minutes to their employees break to encourage them to get outside and benefit from the daylight hours when they can.

Resilience is the key to recovering physically, mentally and emotionally from life’s challenges. Read our recent blog on how to increase your resilience https://www.vanillarecruitment.co.uk/client-recruitment-advice/how-to-get-the-bounce-back-factor/

Flexible working practices are here to stay? The benefits of flexible working are well recognised; start-ups have long avoided establishing HQs to minimise their overheads and attract and retain a wider pool of talent. Broadening recruitment beyond core office locations also offers inclusion and diversity gains and increases companies’ ability to fill competitive or niche positions.

Flexible working has long been desired – and increasingly demanded – by the workforce too. Flexible working is one of the top five benefits that attract talent to a workplace, while professionals identify flexible working as the second most common factor for being happy in their roles, regardless of age or gender (GETI 2018).

What benefits can we gain from the lockdown?

Now, the stigma of working from home has dissipated as millions of people have had no choice but to do just that – proving that presenteeism and productivity are not mutually exclusive and, in some cases, quite the opposite. Flexible hours have become necessary to work around inflexible commitments such as childcare, and we have become a lot more aware and understanding of each other as individuals – at all levels of the organisation.

Being more adaptable? Between job losses, furloughs and sickness, COVID-19 has required many colleagues to adapt and cover roles outside of their usual remit, developing new skills and core competencies in the process.

As lockdown subsides, some companies may find they no longer have the resources to retain a large workforce. Instead many employers are retaining staff that can flex between roles and departments as needed – not too dissimilar to people on apprenticeships.

The upside is, by building a more nimble workforce, businesses will be better able to turn on a sixpence and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. For many employees, this will require a formal variation in their roles and responsibilities, a collaborative culture, and an emphasis on the importance of buy-in. It will also require a considered look at departmental structures and a frank discussion on where teams can be more inter-disciplinary to improve productivity and delivery.

For maximum flexibility, companies should also focus on developing the core principles of adaptability within their processes and workforce. This may mean developing workforce skills such as resourcefulness and problem-solving or coaching curiosity, emotional resilience and a tolerance for uncertainty. Some people will always be more adaptable than others, but there are certain skills that can be taught.

There are substantial benefits to be had from employers embracing a change in the way they engage their most valuable asset – increased retention, enhanced productivity and more choice for candidates and companies alike. This is an opportunity for companies to reinvent and reinvest in their workforce strategies – those that don’t may find that they get left behind.

America’s Presidential Election… What does it mean for us?

As I’m writing this the results of the presidential election in the US has still not been decided. It seems that neither side will be willing to concede, and the whole thing is balanced so closely that it may take some time to reach a conclusion and find out who will be the next POTUS. But why should we really care who’s President here in the UK?

There’s an interesting article I’ve recently seen on the BBC website that highlights some key points. They mention that “the official relationship between Britain and the US endures; the military, diplomatic and intelligence links that run deep into the fabric of both nations. But the occupant of the White House shapes that relationship, and that is why the election on November 3 matters.”

If Trump gets a second term the big question is whether he would “double down, unconstrained by electoral concerns, or moderate his behaviour as he looked to his legacy.” For us here in the UK that would mean “reasonably warm personal relations at the top between the president and a prime minister he once called “Britain Trump”. There would be more positive noises about Brexit and a future trade deal. But there would likely also be more disputes over policy such as relations with China or Iran.”

Other unknowns would be whether he would “withdraw the US even further from the defence alliance Nato”, and if the US did step back from Nato, Britain and the rest of Europe would have to “spend more on their own defence and that could mean substantial tax rises.”

A second Trump administration “would push harder for the collapse of the deal Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear ambitions.” This would mean that “Britain would come under more pressure to split from European allies or risk tougher US sanctions that apply indirectly to British businesses and banks. The transatlantic divide on this and other issues would likely grow if Mr Trump gets four more years.”

On the other side, if Joe Biden were to win, “the US would be less hostile towards the international organisations that Britain values so much, such as the United Nations. It would try to repair global partnerships.” He is also promising a “summit of the democracies” and “Transatlantic relations would be easier, less unpredictable, with fewer unexpected tweets.”

Relations between the US and the UK over some policy issues would surely improve. Climate change is a huge concern for most of us, and next year Britain is hosting a big UN summit – known as COP26 – where it is hoped the world will agree new carbon reduction targets. President Trump, who pulled the US out of the previous Paris climate accord, is unlikely to help get a deal, whereas Mr Biden has promised to “re-join Paris and push for even more ambitious targets.”

Both Joe Biden and Boris Johnson share a “tough approach towards Russia” and “they are closer on China, agreeing on the need to challenge malign behaviour but also allow for engagement on global issues. Divisions over Iran may become less stark as Mr Biden has promised to re-engage with the nuclear deal.”

But, the above does not mean that a Biden presidency would not pose difficulties for the UK.

He seems to not be a big fan of the prime minister, describing him last December as “a physical and emotional clone” of President Trump. He strongly opposed Brexit. And as someone with a strong sense of his Irish heritage, Mr Biden has expressed concern about the “potential impact Britain’s departure from the European Union could have on Ireland’s economy and Northern Ireland’s security.”

Many analysts believe a “Biden presidency would shift its focus towards Germany and France, seeing them and the EU as America’s primary transatlantic partners.”

Regardless of who wins many observers believe some trends will continue: “the gradual US retreat from global leadership and military intervention as the country rediscovers its isolationistic instincts. Mr Biden might be more internationalist in outlook than Mr Trump, but he too is promising to end US involvement in “forever wars”, focus his foreign policy on improving the lives of America’s middle classes, and protect US jobs from the tide of globalisation.”

I must admit that I don’t usually keep very closely up to date with what’s happening in the US, but it seems that in recent years who sits in the oval office seems to have a bigger impact on us all than usual. If you want to read the full article you can see it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2020-54680567

What comes after bonfire night…?

That’s right, it can now officially be the run-up to Christmas. In the recruitment world, this is a very important time. We have temporary workers, who like elves, are ready to come to the rescue if your business is brimming over with work this time of year, or you need to backfill lots of holiday requests.

It’s always best to get ahead of the game and start planning early, but even if like every Christmas some things are left until the last minute then make sure to get in touch with us to chat. We will gladly look at your Christmas wish list and figure out some plans to help you with all your recruitment needs. Call Jodie on 01858 898058 or email [email protected]

Next Live Webinar

Our next Webinar is live and available to book. New World Thinking with Gavin Drake of Mindspan Global on Wednesday 18th November at 2pm.

Sustaining Peak Performance During A Pandemic – How To Be Your Best While The World Is At Its Worst

With the world in a state of constant change and uncertainty performing at our best can seem a challenge.  Would you like to be able to get into the ‘Zone’ of peak performance and a state of flow at will? This webinar will help you perform at your best and guide you to get the best performance from your team.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-world-thinking-tickets-127301007741  Space is limited, reserve your place to avoid disappointment.

That’s it for another month

Despite all the uncertainty, I wish you all a lovely November full of positivity and optimism. Remember, if we can support you in any way please let us know. Best wishes for a great month and stay safe everyone.


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We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office