The ‘Remote’ Future of the SAP Job Market Past COVID-19

As the government’s phasing down lockdown restrictions, the SAP world is slowly easing into what some call the ‘new normal’. While there’s still a strong air of uncertainty among businesses and SAP professionals, one thing’s clear:

Flexible work arrangements may soon become the ‘default’ across the entire SAP landscape. And there are many good reasons for that to happen, including SAP end-clients’ ability to engage and attract SAP professionals from beyond local talent pools.

According to the ONS ‘Opinions and Lifestyles Survey, 46.6% of the UK’s workforce was at least partially remote in April 2020. Over 80% of the respondents were pushed to remote work as a direct result of the pandemic. The Guardian reports that the number of telecommuters peaked at 49% in the first two weeks of July.

It turns out the pre-COVID scepticism about work-from-home (WFH) turned flimsy as many businesses see promising results of the transition. The last-minute pivot to remote work has not only helped the economy but also kept SAP programmes on track.

Maybe it’s about time the SAP landscape embraced ‘flexible’ working arrangements for permanent, fixed term and daily rate SAP experts?

The case for leaving offices

The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has challenged the status quo of traditional offices. It’s also made business leaders and employees more aware of the benefits of flexible work arrangements.

The trend-setters of the tech space like Twitter, Square, Slack and Shopify are on the verge of a permanent shift to remote work. This month, Fujitsu announced a ‘Work Life Shift’ programme to set their 80,000 employees in Japan into a remote-first mode.

It looks like the humdrum office life may soon become a thing of the past.

With the stringent reopening guidelines on the table, repopulating office spaces may not only prove costly but also stifle the ‘regular’ office life.

UK businesses are also capitalising on the new trend. A law firm Slater & Gordon are shutting down their London office and moving 200 employees to permanent WFH. Others, like McKenzie and DLA Piper, survey employees for feedback in this regard.

So, why the rush to go digital?

  1. Increased productivity

The impact of remote work on productivity has been a staple in the debate between supporters and opponents of flexible work arrangements. Sectigo’s ‘Work-from-Home IT Impact’ study found that 49% of UK’s IT professionals believe productivity at their companies actually went up when remote work turned mandatory.

  1. Reduced business costs

Cost-saving measures are already high on our to-do lists. Now that the economy is reopening after the lockdown, this is a great opportunity to rethink the need for traditional office spaces. Remote work in the post-COVID world may help shed some overhead costs like rent, maintenance, utilities and insurance, just to name a few.

  1. No commute

If there’s one aspect of remote work that makes employees (and business leaders) universally happy, it’s the lack of the dreaded commute. HubbleHQ’s latest survey of 1,000 Brits found that no transit between home and workplace is the primary incentive for going 100% remote.

  1. Improved employee retention

For many, the ability to work remotely has become a decisive factor in pursuing career opportunities. Businesses that are already offering flexible work arrangements can expect more effective recruitment and improved employee retention.

Is work-from-home SAP’s ‘new normal’?

The emerging work-from-home trend seems like a perfect match for SAP-enabled businesses and SAP professionals. While a partial or hybrid approach has been a standard practice for quite some time, the SAP landscape is primed for a complete makeover.

And there’s plenty to look forward to:

Access to new talent pools

Flexible permanent, fixed-term and daily rate contracts will make it much easier for SAP end-clients to engage and attract SAP professionals from beyond local talent pools. ICM’s data suggests that 63% of the workforce would consider a longer commute if employers allowed fewer days at the office.

SAP business continuity

Tapping into more expansive and accessible talent pools will help proof SAP programmes against potential slowdowns in the future. Since remote processes have been rolled out during the pandemic, it’ll be much easier to ensure business continuity in case of any emergencies down the road.

Flexible contracting rates

On the net financial end, we’re likely to see more flexibility in contractors’ rates as well. SAP professionals who have been affected by PAYE or had to regularly commute could soon start offering more attractive pricing tiers for flexible work arrangements.

Shrinking skills gap

The IT skills gap was a problem before the pandemic, and it’s still here. However, the ability to source the best talent that’s now location-independent could help fill vacancies across the industry. Flexible contracts combined with the recent spike in IT jobs draw a bright future for the SAP sector.

At bluewave, we believe that the pivot to ‘remote’ engagements will drive innovation across the entire SAP landscape. And with the positive feedback trickling in from our clients and network of SAP experts, the odds are stacked just right.

If you missed our latest guest article click here, to view a handful of tips to keep in mind if you’re considering remote SAP programmes in 2020.

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