Executive Director – A+F Recruitment
Can you describe your working situation pre Covid?
Life changed considerably for me on Friday March 16th 2020. Without sounding too dramatic, it is a day that I will never forget. Level 5 lockdown had just been announced. It was a Friday. I finished work in Dublin with a view to working from home for a couple of weeks.…and here we are – almost one year later. Who could have known?
Our group is based in a fabulous building in Dublin 2 and this is where I am fortunate to have worked since 2015.
For the past 6 years, my routine has involved two very early morning drives to Dublin leaving my home in Co. Kilkenny at 5am. This was followed by a long day in the office with an overnight stay in Dublin. On Tuesdays, I usually managed to beat the traffic out of Dublin by leaving before 4pm. Wednesdays were my work from home days and I repeated the routine on Thursday/Friday. By Friday evenings I collapsed in a heap on the couch (with a nice large G&T in my hand)
How have you settled into permanently working from home?
I will be honest and say that it took me a while to settle into working from home full-time. New routines had to be established as we learned to cater for a range of differing family needs to accommodate 1 school going teenager, 1 Uni student and 1 husband all requiring remote access and a quiet room to work from.
Roll on a month or so and I have settled into my new routine and I am beginning to wonder how I ever did what I did. I am a new woman! Most mornings, I sleep in until 7:30am and sometimes even later. At lunchtime, I get out for a quick walk, I have a healthy lunch and I might even have time to put on a load of washing. And guess what! My productivity and the productivity of my team has increased. We have more time to concentrate and focus.
So yes, in short, I am now loving these new working arrangements. However, effective technology has played a critical role in enabling us to do just that. We have a technology guru who has made sure that everyone has the tools required to work remotely at their finger-tips.
Favourite things about being based in the South East at present?
1. Healthy lunches prepared by my daughter who is currently working from home!
2. Being able to do some form of exercise most days. 3. More time around the kitchen table with my lovely family.
What do you think the advantages are for the employee to be allowed work from home?
- Less commuting time, more time to work
- Less tired, more engaged and alive during work hours.
- Healthier, more time to walk and eat well, therefore less sick leave which I know is ironic
- Much healthier work life balance, people are less stressed and therefore happier and more productive
- Less air pollution – let’s face it – we need to wake up and mind our planet
What advice would you have for employers in this new situation?
- Embrace the new normal – see it as an opportunity rather than a threat
- Look at the cost of your real estate – is it time to look at cheaper more flexible options
- Reinvest in your home working offering – make sure people are set up well to be effective in their roles
- If you have hired well and according to your values pre covid then learn to trust people that you employ
- Set clear objectives for your teams – make them realistic and flexible.
- Have a range of forums to catch up – formal and informal – chatty and structured.
- Be understanding of people’s different situations – no two situations are the same.
- Be approachable and listen well.
- Be compassionate and show true empathy.
What do you think the post-covid working world will look like – will employers and employees fully embrace WFH?
I am certain that we will never return to pre covid working arrangements. I work in recruitment and I have already seen a dramatic reset in employee and employers’ expectations.
Previously employers would agree to some flexibility after a 1 to 2 years, once they were certain that they could “trust” the person. Now it is expected up front, not as a perk of the job but a normal part of the job.
Some more traditional businesses may struggle/refuse to offer working from home as an option however, they will lose out on attracting the right people and with time will have to follow suit.
Favourite thing about being permanently based in the South East at present?
- Healthy lunches prepared by my daughter who is currently working from home!
- Being able to do some form of exercise most days (such as the Kells Priory walk)
- More time around the kitchen table with my lovely family
What gaps can you see in the region that we need to fix to help people work better remotely?
- High speed broad band accessible to all
- More shared office working space
- More local forums
- The South East houses a lot of more traditional style businesses and they will need to rethink their values and culture to compete in attracting and retaining the resources that the business requires to grow and prosper.
Tanya has worked as a Director with Vertical Markets for over 6 years now and in that time has been instrumental in developing three businesses for the group – namely HR Search, Capital Markets Recruitment and A+F Recruitment.
Tanya hails from Kilkenny! She studied in UCD and her first role was in Finance with PWC. However, recruitment was her calling and she has worked with clients across Ireland, Continental Europe and Australia. She is as at home working with clients in Ireland as she is with clients in Frankfurt, the Netherlands and further afield.
Tanya enjoys working with clients where there is an opportunity to build rapport and a long terms relationship based on trust and open communication. Tanya has worked in both the Selection and Executive Search markets and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to finding the possible match for the role.
Tanya is a thought leader in terms of Human Resource and Recruitment matters. She is an advocate in the areas of D&I and remote/flexible working. She is a frequent participant in industry meetups and networking events. Tanya’s mantra is to always give people the benefit of the doubt, to aim to enjoy every interaction and to be open and honest.