A Recent Survey Found the Majority of Workers Never Want to go Back to the Old Way of Working – Is Your Organization Ready?
Two weeks ago, just out of curiosity, I put a question on my LinkedIn feed asking for work environment preferences. As a Recruiter with more than 30 years of placing talent, I like to feel where the pulse lies and share that info with my clients and candidates.
Like most businesses originally classified as “non-essential,” my employer temporarily closed our doors in March, and we quickly transitioned to a “work remote” way of life. Surprisingly, we adjusted very quickly. In July, we switched to a rotating schedule. I work one week in the office and one week remote. This balance happens to be working for me. I like having the flexibility to work from home, but I also like the ability to go in and have some face-to-face (albeit masked) contact.
I was somewhat blown away by the sheer amount of responses to my post. Currently, I have more than 1380 responses and 150 comments which tells me this is a subject that has hit many people. The consensus seems to be that most who responded agree that the combination of both is the most comfortable and productive and is quickly being termed the “hybrid workforce.” Some say it may even be a solution to level out the issue of gender equality and diversity. Slack.com cited a recent survey of 4,700 knowledge workers and found the majority never want to go back to the old way of working. Only 12% want to return to full-time office work, and 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward
Jennifer Carey, President of SHRM LI said: “Both – the ability to work from home as work/life balance needs change is critical to being a competitive employer.”
Deb Davis, Senior Benefits/HRIS Analyst at Margolin Winer & Evans, LLP said: “Combination of both. Never thought I’d enjoy working from home, but I’ve adjusted and like it at times, but also important for me to get in the office and interact with people in person, even masked and at a social distance . As an HR professional the personal touch is important and Zoom or other platforms just don’t do it.”
There are many arguments for both office or work from home, but I think the most important point is that employers must be flexible post pandemic in order to attract and retain talent. Companies must be prepared to offer flexible work arrangements; if you stay old school, you will lose quality hires to the competition. I guess the most important question I would ask you is: Do you know what your workforce wants or needs? Are you prepared with a strategy and viable plan post-pandemic?
I also want to point out that there are a wide variety of flexible work arrangements to consider…
I have followed up with phone conversations with several clients and some say the work from home is not affecting productivity in their company, yet some say it is. It is not a question easily answered and certainly may have different responses depending on the viewpoint of corporate leadership vs. overall workforce.
There are positives and negatives to all scenarios, but the most important thing is that even when it is safe to return to the office full time, employees will have gotten used to many different options and may want to maintain the same flexibility as time moves forward. I encourage you to start the dialogue now.
Have an opinion or a plan? I welcome your thoughts on this topic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Cohen Farber is the Executive Director of LLoyd Administrative & HR Talent. She is a Staffing and Employment Expert with 30+ years of recruitment and search experience placing all levels of Administrative and Human Resources professionals in a wide range of industries across Long Island, Queens and NYC. She handles contract engagements and searches for full time hires.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.