Employees – office workers, in particular – have firm expectations about returning to the workplace as vaccines become more widely available and companies begin bringing the team back together. At the top of their wish lists: hybrid work schedules, says start-up workforce platform Envoy’s Return to the Workplace report.
Safety and flexibility, says the report, are the top two reasons behind the desired hybrid model, with office workers pinpointing the ideal number of days at their worksites to 3.3 per week. And it’s not just office workers, says Human Resource Executive. The appeal of a hybrid schedule is increasing in health care, construction/manufacturing, retail and hospitality fields as well.
The split workplace schedule is so desired by employees that many say they are willing to change jobs – even careers – to make it a reality.
Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey says that 26% of workers – that’s 1 in 4 – plan to look for a job at a different company when the pandemic ends. This is a glaring alarm to managers and companies with highly trained workforces that are tough to quickly replace.
Axios reports that the number of workers planning to leave employers is highest (34%) among millennials, the largest generation in the workforce today.
The drivers behind the surge aren’t new concepts: greater work-life balance, higher compensation and fresh challenges top the list. However, 75% of workers who plan to look for a new job say the pandemic has caused them to more deeply examine these issues. Additionally, with the fast adoption of remote work, employees don’t feel geographically tied to employers.
A survey by Eagle Hill Consulting says workers considering quitting their jobs are simply burned out. NordVPN Teams, a remote software provider, says workers in the U.S. increased their average workday by three hours — that’s a 40% increase and the largest jump worldwide. Combined with great responsibilities during the pandemic, such as overseeing schooling from home or caring for sick family members, the sense of being worn out is easy to understand.
To counteract the expected tsunami of career changes, companies can focus on expanding additional training and education programs for workers, says McKinsey & Company. Some jobs impacted by the pandemic, such as those in hospitality and retail, could be slower to return. Those workers will need to learn new skill sets.
Employers can make strategic workforce choices, says Deloitte, that will “help organizations bridge the crisis response to the new normal by laying the foundation to thrive in the aftermath of the crisis,” including:
Reflecting on what’s been learned or missed, particularly from diverse voices and perspectives.
Recommitting to workplace wellbeing through focus on physical, psychological and financial issues.
Re-engaging workforces on rapidly evolving organizational priorities.
Rethinking workforces and workplaces to leverage experiences on accelerating the future of work.
Rebooting and realigning human resources and workforce priorities.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.