A new study reveals five workforce approaches stemming from the lessons of the pandemic.
By Zee Johnson
When the COVID-19 lockdown began, organisations worldwide had to rethink their working structures. The new model sought? One that drove productivity, ensured safety, and catered to employees’ shifting attitudes whilst working from the confines of their homes.
This, however, presented a challenge for many companies, especially those who had no pre-existing remote working guidelines.
The Adecco Group’s new report, Resetting Normal: defining the new era of work, surveyed 8,000 office-based workers across the globe, who altered the way they worked during the pandemic.
The study revealed five pertinent themes for organisations to consider in a post-pandemic work era.
- “The Future is flexible.” Perhaps due to the pandemic, both employers and employees see the importance of greater work flexibility, with 75% of upper management agreeing that employers and workers will benefit from flexibility after the pandemic.
For employees, remote work allowed for a greater focus on their mental well-being. Nearly 50% said their mental health had increased during this time. On the flipside, employee relationships suffered, as well as collaboration efforts. Of those surveyed, 78% said they had strong relationships with their colleagues before COVID, and during, only 15% could say the same.
To fix this, companies must place emphasis on improving remote team collaboration. One in two executives believe that team collaboration will suffer if full-time remote work becomes the norm, whist three in four believe that hybrid working is the new way of the workforce.
- “End of 9-5?” One emerging trend during COVID-19 was the push for a work schedule based on output, rather than hours worked. Historically, job compensation has relied upon attendance. Now, employees are urging management to look deeper into updating this policy.
According to the survey, 69% of respondents think that output is more important than hours spent working, and 67% feel employers should revisit the length of the working week and the hours employees are expected to work. C-Suite executives second this point, with 76% agreeing that the new focus should mainly be on productivity.
- “Reinventing leadership.” Over the past year, upper management has had to quickly alter the way they’ve supported their staff. With 70% of employees saying that support for their mental health is important, 74% also seek management who lead with an emphasis on empathy and emotional support. This presents a soft skills gap for management, as 54% say it was not easy to provide effective advice to staff on mental well-being.
Executives must change the way they’ve traditionally managed to effectively coordinate and strengthen from afar.
- “New skills for a new era.” During lockdown, 59% of workers said their digital skills had improved, but think more company-wide training is necessary. Digital skills training is essential finds 69% of respondents, with another 65% believing training on company platforms and systems is important, too.
The need for a rolling knowledge base plays a key role in employees seeking positions at other organisations. According to the survey, 43% said wanting to learn new skills with longer term values was the main reason for being attracted to another job within the same sector.
Organisations that continuously reskill and upskill their workers will be the most competitive in the marketplace.
- “The trust equation.” With the world still in recovery, employers are being entrusted to deliver a better workplace. For this to happen, there must be reciprocity with 78% of employees say that feeling trusted by employers to get the job done is important. And in the future, 61% of employees believe it is important for management to support them during any crisis.
Employee retention rates could be directly affected by the trust and support given by management and C-suite executives.