26th March 2021

Survey: Online vs Offline environment in the Workplace

In February 2021, Hays conducted a survey among job seekers, asking how the job seekers see current situation towards recruitment process in this new age and what is their approach towards working from home. Almost 400 applicants across disciplines and professions took part in the survey.

Not surprisingly, more than half of applicants now prefer to conduct online interviews (55%). However, as many as 39% of respondents favour personal contact during interviews, despite the worsening epidemiological situation. Only six percent of respondents said that interviews should only take place online.

According to the applicants, the biggest advantage of online interviews is safety in connection with the Covid-19 disease (49%), followed closely by time savings (43%), when traveling to a potentially new workplace is eliminated. "Online interviews have long been a proven option, especially for international companies that accept applicants from abroad, which is typical for positions in IT or shared services centres. With the advent of the pandemic, this trend has intensified and is often the only method used across the entire labor market. However, most hiring decision makers do not see online interviews as appropriate, personal interaction with the candidate helps them better estimate the personal qualities of the candidate and the added value they can bring to the new employer. There are also certain risks from the applicants' point of view - an online interview does not allow for closer relationship  with the future employer, so candidates are more introvert and do not ask questions that they would probably ask during a face-to-face meeting. After the interview, the candidate may feel that he / she has not learned enough information that he / she may need for his / her further decision-making, ”comments Sándor Bodnár, Director of Hays.

This corresponds to the most frequently mentioned benefits of personal interviews. 36% of respondents appreciate the possibility of social interaction during a personal meeting, 32% welcome the opportunity to meet a potential supervisor or team, and 31% of people want to see the environment of the company in which they should work. "A job interview is a two-way event, not only does the company choose its employees, but the candidates also choose the environment that suits them or the personality of the manager with whom they will work well," says Sándor Bodnár.

One of the biggest challenges in recruiting in the current situation remains the onboarding of new employees. "No matter how advanced online systems the company uses, I don't think they can fully replace the personal training of newcomers at the workplace," says Sándor Bodnár. Only 4% of applicants would prefer online training, 30% of people in the survey opted for the personal option, and the combination of both options is preferred by most job seekers - 66%. "The importance of personal contact with colleagues and superiors when starting a new job is crucial. Not only does the new colleague need to obtain information in order to be able to do his job, he also needs to get to know his closest co-workers in order to feel good about the new job and get used to the company's culture. In particular, he must have someone close to whom he can turn with questions. In an online environment, there are often situations where a newcomer feels that he is bothering his colleagues, reluctant to ask questions repeatedly, feels insecure and dissatisfied. Especially in the first days after starting, based on our clients’ experiences during the past year, I recommend to include at least some sort of face to face onboarding, of course taking into account all the necessary safety measures."

Under the current circumstances, working from home has become a matter of course in all workplaces where it can be applied. Even companies that previously resisted the provision of work from home now see that this can be done without major impacts on productivity. What do employees want? Ideally, they would like to work from home from 20-50%, ie up to ten working days a month. That's how 50% of people answered. A larger share of work from home, 50-75% of the time, is preferred by 22% of respondents. A maximum of one day's work from home a week would be preferred by 19 percent of people, while a full home office is preferred by only 5% of applicants. Four percent of respondents do not want or cannot work from home.

"Many companies have tried to make their work from home as easy as possible, for example by renting office equipment or furniture, or by making a financial contribution for working from home. In the future, we can certainly expect a higher ratio of work from home than was usual before. Companies are looking for and implementing new ways to combine remote working and working from the workplace to enable their people to work effectively. However, there is no doubt that people now lack the personal contact they are used to at work and want more involvement from the offices, ”concludes Sándor Bodnár.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic