“You crawl in sick; you don’t call in sick”

That was once said to me without a hint of jest by a grizzled and probably overworked manager. Luckily, I can fall back on an exemplar record of health when it comes to my employment history. I can’t even remember my last (legit) sick day? Credit’s due to my ol’ dear for my impenetrable immune system, growing up I can’t recall her or myself being in fear of the 0.01% of germs that sanitizer let live? Presumably, they were spared to send a message back to the rest of the germs. Not that we were unhygienic by any means, a little dirt under the nails and behind the ears sure, but no comic book stink line emanating from crowns. We weren’t obsessive is my point but I tell you what, look who’s laughing now, the ‘cleanees!’ Impending doom aside, they must be loving the round the clock cleaning, the constant sanitizing, the general feel of ‘I told you so’ now that we’ve all become part-time germaphobes. This may usher in a generation of what we would refer to as ‘sick notes’ and it won’t even be their fault! Germs have changed the world and it’s now up to businesses to adapt and evolve like the virus itself.

If re-elected, Jacinda’s labour will double the amount of sick leave taking us from a standard 5 paid days leave to an all-inclusive retreat worthy 10 days! You’ll still have to do your usual 6 months uninterrupted with an organisation before you’re eligible of course. This is to combat people coming back into work while still infectious. Studies found around 35% of kiwis still come to the office while still feeling poorly. Where’s the land of milk and honey for a sick note I hear you ask? If you like your sick days, you’re going to love the Netherlands! Workers can be absent for up to 104 weeks (2 years) while receiving 70% of their salary. I can see windmills appear in the eyes of the sickies now as they clog off to the land of tulips, joining those run down from a diet of kush and pancakes. No surprise which country is the least generous when it comes to paid sick leave. The land where stiff upper lips are encased in mucus and spreading germs plays second fiddle to keep Mag in gold crowns; good ol blighty! 28 weeks, paid at a flat rate of around £88 a week. French employers are known to surrender, not like that, 50% of an employee’s earnings for 26 weeks. America, where if you get sick you had better have some cash, has no statuary mandate for paid sick leave.

Remember how coming into the office visibly still in the throws of whatever illness you were battling was a boss move? Now you’re viewed more like a selfish leper than a battle-hardened hero. Well, another thing that could be a token of the past; the office! Sticking with Europe and the Americas; 71% of French workers who had previously never worked at home before the pandemic say they now would. By the start of April, 35% of workers in the US had swapped the office for their home a move that may not be a temporary one considering 37% of US jobs could be done from home. Twitter has told employees they can continue to work from home permanently, Google and Facebook will operate at around 30% of office capacity. Pinterest even got out of a lease for 490,000 square feet of office space which involved a payment of $89.5m.

It seems that the main issue is around trust. You don’t sh*t where you eat but do you work where you sleep? Some bosses have a hard time envisioning a productive employee when the siren call of Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime is so alluring. Having talked with numerous recruitment leaders in our industry; there was a slight dip due to demand slowing up but on the whole most owners/managers were pleased with their staff’s productivity while off-site. In our industry it’s black and white, we have data that highlights productivity; CVs sent, Calls made, interviews booked. Often our performance is on view to all and sundry in the form of a whiteboard in a prominent spot in the office. We’re in a sales role, the less you put into it the less you get out of it, it’s that simple. So, working from home shouldn’t really affect our industry, yet it does. Without a bustling office, you miss things; candidates that colleagues have registered that could be useful. You lack the ability to meet candidates at your office; earning some level of buy-in. You miss out on members of your team gloating inspiring you to take them down a peg or two with your own billings. Perhaps the future will provide a safe space for our online avatars to congregate? A synthesised sales floor saving us from getting the hover-bus to work, avoiding whatever super flu is doing the rounds.

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