Shuffling Toward Remote

Jul 27, 2023

The impact of 2020 lockdowns is still rippling through the labor market and throughout industries around the globe. Employees who dropped out during the Great Resignation – and those who remained – are now looking to reinvent themselves. Those who were dissatisfied with their jobs before the pandemic saw that frustration boil over.

Aptly called the Great Reshuffle, it is an era in which employees are taking their frustrations and turning them into must-have changes that their next employer needs to bring to the table. The result: workers, having the strongest advantage in the job market in quite a few decades, are telling employers exactly what they want.

One thing is certain – the majority of workers want the option to work from home. A Zippia survey shows that 44% of employees want a hybrid work model, and 55% want to work remotely at least three days a week.

They’re getting it, too. Recent Gallup poll data indicates that 52% of US work locations are operating on a hybrid work model and another 28% are fully remote. There’s more of that to come; Zippia found that 74% of US companies are currently or planning to use a permanent hybrid work model.

If you’re a job seeker, now is the best time for you to redefine how work fits into your life – not how  your life fits around work. It’s also a time in which employee skills will come to the forefront.

For those looking to redefine their careers, some of the workplace options that companies have adopted include:

Flexible schedules. Not everyone works their best between 9 am and 5 pm. Smart companies have adopted flexible schedules and even four-day workweeks. By asking employees to put in their best hours (and not the most hours), employers are prioritizing results over attendance. It improves productivity: A Gartner survey found that 43% of respondents reported increased productivity when they were able to work a more flexible schedule.

A focus on wellbeing. Employers are now tuning in to the impact of too much work on employee productivity and retention. Look for employers that offer ways in which employees connect with the company and each other no matter where they’re located. How is the company empowering employees to improve their careers? Do they offer mental health and financial health benefits? Are they including these topics in regular one-on-one employee communications?

Upskilling opportunities. There are plenty of employees whose skills are often left untapped. Does the company you’re interviewing with have a process to tap into the capabilities of those who are already on staff? How do they fill particular skills gaps within their company? Do they foresee using upskilling to help both the company improve their productivity results and the employee improve their engagement and commitment?

Diversity and inclusion. Employers have gotten the memo – employees want to see a more diverse and inclusive workplace environment. Their commitment should go beyond words and mission statements and be demonstrable. How is the company assessing diversity in its workforce? Is there transparency when it comes to promotions and salaries? Is there a designated team working on DEI initiatives and how involved is senior management? Talk with current employees to gauge the level of commitment to ensuring more workplace inclusion.

A ramped-up communication process. With remote and hybrid cultures, communication is a vital link between employee performance and satisfaction and a company’s success in operations. How does the company communicate with its remote team members? How often? How are they engaging employees and making them all feel like a cohesive team? Do all members of the organization feel like an integral part of the company’s success?

Now more than ever, the labor market continues to give job seekers a bigger voice in what their careers should look like. As you rethink your career trajectory and reshuffle your priorities, the time is right for you to rethink who your next employer will be. By aligning your goals with the offerings of the company, you could reinvent your career in a way that satisfies both your needs and that of your next employer.

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