The working world is changing, with more individuals wanting a more flexible approach to the daily grind. That’s where smartworking comes in. We’ve had a look at why it’s time for recruiters to embrace this modern way of working.

What exactly is smartworking?

“Smartworking” hasn’t made it into the dictionary quite yet, so there’s no official definition for the term. However, Google it, and you’ll find an abundance of explanations of what it is and how to integrate it into your work life.

One definition we found that sums it up nicely is:

“A business-savvy approach to workplace flexibility. It is an integrated and strategic approach to flexible working, bringing together changes in technology and new concepts in workplace design with aspirations for more choice and a more manageable work-life interface.”

This modern way of working is being adopted across many sectors and industries within the UK. And the results of doing so have been positive. According to recent research, done by CIPD, smartworking was one of the main ways to improve productivity by 56% of organisations in the UK.

So why has this approach to working not yet been adopted in recruitment?

The perception of smartworking in recruitment

Findings from the World’s largest provider of HR solutions, Adecco Group, suggest that despite two-thirds of job seekers and recruiters never having heard of smartworking, over half of those looking for work have a strong desire to adopt its practice.

They also found that, of all the people they spoke to, only 17% of job seekers would reject this way of working. More importantly, their research found that 90.8% of the people they surveyed would like to have the option to work outside of the office.

Most recognise smartworking as having the flexibility to choose the location of the work and the delegation of hours. While others believe it lays in choosing the methods and tools.

The annual Work Trends Survey, provides the most comprehensive insight into work trends, gathering responses from over 35,000 job seekers and agencies across 26 countries.

Further findings revealed that Europe is the most averse to flexibility in the workplace, with only 4% of respondents having actually ever worked in a such an environment.

Why recruiters avoid smartworking

Despite recognising its advantages for providing a better life to work balance and saving on commuting costs, recruiters remained skeptical towards the concept. Three main reasons they avoid it are:

  • It’s not in-keeping with the standard corporate structure of a company
  • There is a lack of training in virtual management
  • There is a general lack of knowledge over the concept

Some industries are believed to be better suited to adopting the flexible work ethic in their stride with marketing, sales, and IT seen as the most accommodating respectively. The least able to adopt these practices was believed to be the production and logistics industry.

Interestingly, the desire for this way of working was seen to increase among those that are higher educated, while its popularity decreased with age.

Why recruiters should adopt smartworking

The UK and European recruitment industry need to progress from traditional desk jockeying attitudes to reflect the demand from job seekers. Agencies continue to see smartworking as the preserve of those with lengthy commutes, childcare responsibilities or disabilities, and not as the advantage it can be.

There are so many benefits to adopting a smartworking way of life, including the health and wellbeing of employees, better collaboration between individuals and teams and improved productivity. It also allows companies to use their office space more effectively, reducing spend. Research conducted by RSA and Vodafone UK found that, if the UK embraced smartworking, we could reduce spend by up to £8.1 billion.

There are some potential drawbacks, which it is work addressing, including isolation, less interaction with colleagues or lack of identification with the company. However, to overcome these, there is the potential to integrate smart working solutions into your work environment, as well as at home.

Smartworking is a great way to motivate recruiters to do their best work every day.