However, while 77% of US workers are ready to return to the office, they only want to do so on a temporary basis and 74% remain concerned about whether their employers are introducing appropriate safety measures, according to a US survey by Randstad.
For a study called the ‘Next Normal’, Randstad surveyed 1,213 US workers and more than 1,500 of its employer customers about what the future of work looks like.
The research found that employees want the future of work to be flexible and hybrid – even though remote working has eroded most people’s work-life balance. 54% of employees surveyed said they would prefer hybrid working arrangements in the future despite admitting they log on earlier and finish work later than when they were working in the office.
Therefore, offering flexible, hybrid working will be essential to attracting and retaining talent in the future of work – or the ‘next normal’ as Randstad calls it.
However, to achieve successful hybrid working Randstad recommends that remote workers have access to the right technology and tools to do their job effectively at home.
In addition, to tackle the work-life balance issues, Randstad suggests that managers lead by example in implementing no work after X o’clock policies.
Of course, for some jobs flexible working is not possible, but in these scenarios Randstad advises that employers really focus on safety procedures. However, Randstad emphasizes that safety must be a strategic imperative for all companies in the future of work.
In particular, Randstad’s survey shows that workers considered the mask mandate (89%), social distancing (63%), temperature checks (44%), and sanitizing stations (39%) to be the most important safety procedure to implement.
The next normal is one of employee mobility
Another trend Randstad noticed during the pandemic was that employees were more mobile than ever before. Nearly one in five (19%) of employees changed jobs in the pandemic and 37% others considered doing so.
Of those who did change jobs, 42% did so because of compensation, 30% because of benefits offerings, 23% because their new employer gave them the option to work remotely and 23% due to workplace culture.
Culture and remote working were most important to the 25 to 34 age group. It was this demographic that saw the highest percentage of new jobs in the survey – 32% – compared to 26% for 18-to-24-year olds and 22% for 34-to-44-year olds.
It is clear that Generation Z (18 to 24 year olds) are also happy to leave jobs even when they don’t have a new job to go to.
Thereby suggesting that to attract young talent in the future of work employers need to ensure they are giving them responsibilities that align with their interests and passions otherwise they will quit.
“As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce en masse, employers will have to redouble their efforts to keep them not only safe, but interested and engaged,” notes the report.
The report continues: “Employers that offer (when possible) greater control over when and where they work, better work-life balance and competitive pay will find it easier to attract the workforce’s youngest generation.
“Meanwhile, those that offer benefits designed to protect their physical and mental well-being will find it easier to keep them.”
Finally, the pandemic also saw mass exodus out of large cities. 24% of the remote workers surveyed had relocated in the past year – primarily due to the cost of living (43%) and to be closer to friends and family (39%).
While employers may be keen to reduce the salaries to reflect the change in employee location – Facebook and Twitter have suggested they will take this approach – Randstad recommends that employers don’t do this.
The report concludes: “Whether employers take this mobility and the potential lower costs of living that come with it into account when crafting their compensation plans is still unclear.
“However, those that attempt to recoup costs by adjusting salaries accordingly may just find that the money they save isn’t worth turning off top talent.”