Tutkimus

Global workforce expectations are shifting due to
COVID-19

The results are in: over 2,000 office workers told us their thoughts about the workplace and how their priorities are different now than before the pandemic.

tammikuu 01, 2021

As many countries go through lockdown again, companies around the world are realising that the way they work will drastically change over the long term. With the forced mass work-from home experiment, employees have shown that, if supported by the right technology, they are able to work remotely and efficiently. They have also demonstrated their loyal engagement and commitment in highly challenging times. In return, they are voicing new expectations that employers can no longer ignore.

How to embrace the new work-life priorities and expectations of a liquid workforce
  • Remote work is set to double, from 1.2 days pre-pandemic to 2.4 days a week
  • The future will be hybrid. 66% of employees are expecting to be able to work from different locations post-crisis.
  • Work from-home is not the panacea. 74% of employees still want the ability to come into an office.
  • The crisis has driven employees to rethink their life priorities​. Work-life balance has overtaken securing a comfortable salary​.
  • Employers are facing new mental, physical and social well-being expectations.
  • The rise of remote work is raising new questions about employer’s responsibilities.
  • Employees are calling for a human-centric workplace. This will require new CRE and HR synergies.
It is time to rethink space allocation in-depth and to promote a new model of ‘space as a service’.

In order to meet new workforce expectations, employers will have to accelerate the switch from providing spaces to support individual work to offering a variety of on-demand spaces dedicated to collective needs. Employees are conscious that a ‘new deal’ needs to be sealed with their employers: more freedom and choice, and more remote work and diversity in the office in exchange for their individual desk.

To reimagine the Human Experience, HR & Workplace teams must work hand in hand…
  1. Decode the long-term impact of remote work on working and living patterns. ​
  2. Size the opportunity​ to sustain and reinvigorate​ employee engagement. ​
  3. Build a worker-centric workplace.

 

Work-from-home frequency

We asked our respondents how often they worked from home before COVID-19 and how many days a week they would like to work from home in the future. They showed a strong affinity for the office — use the chart below to explore detailed survey results.

 

With COVID-19 compounding workplace stressors, the workforce is emotionally pressured and is asking for more in return

  • Emotional engagement is at risk: employers must be more engaged and care for their workforces
    • About half of employees (53%) have a positive outlook on their current employer
    • 51% expressed concerns about the future and are worried about losing their job
  • The crisis has driven employees to rethink their priorities and given them a renewed focus on quality of life, human interaction and personal values requiring employers to adapt to these evolving needs and demands to attract and retain future talent
    • Work-life balance (72%) has overtaken securing a comfortable salary (69%) in terms of importance post pandemic
    • A conscious, local and healthy lifestyle has become as important as finding a sense of purpose in their work to employees; this is a priority for more than 60% of the workers today
    • Companies that have a clear purpose will be well-positioned to retain talent
  • Work-from-home is enabling fulfillment and empowerment, but employees want more
    • They are requesting more flexible time arrangements and alternative places of work
      • 71% are expecting more flexible schedules, 57% want to have a wider choice in terms of workspaces in the office and 43% would like to be able to work from a co-working facility from time to time
  • The pandemic has driven people to focus on what matters most in their work life: a desire for spaces that create a sense of community
    • Almost half of respondents want both a direct connection to the outdoors (or “green space”) and areas that foster collaboration and engagement with co-workers
    • Interestingly, they also desire new spaces in offices dedicated to focused solo work, so while tomorrow’s offices will need to become great places for collaboration they will also have to accommodate solo working and remote collaboration through isolation spaces and technologies to support meetings with remote colleagues

 

Shifting priorities

We asked our respondents how their priorities changed in light of the current crisis.

 

The hybrid workplace of the future will have to be more human than ever to support employees’ diverse, changing needs and workstyles

  • There is potential for growing connectivity between physical and digital environments
    • Employers must reimagine the dynamic between the physical and virtual workplace to meet employees’ demands
  • A new purpose for the office has emerged: the office is evolving into a destination for collaboration, problem solving and career development
    • In all these areas, the physical workplace can make a huge difference: 70% of respondents are finding that the office environment is more conducive to connecting with teammates to solve complex issues as well as managing direct reports and connecting with leadership
    • Employees indicate that work-from-home has proved to be more efficient for concentration and taking mental breaks

 

The office is the preferred location for some crucial activities

We asked our respondents about their preferred location for specific tasks.

 

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