The future of work is remote, with better leaders

The coronavirus pandemic may result in big workplace changes. According to a new survey by Adecco Group, there has been a shift in attitudes and expectations among workers and leaders with regards to how and where we work, workplace relationships and future skills.

The study, Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work, examines the expected short- and long-term impact of the pandemic on workplace norms. A survey of 8,000 office workers between aged 18-60, across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the USA, was conducted in May, 2020.

Key findings regarding work hours and location include:

  • All office all the time is on the way out. 74% of respondents said they want to see a mix of office-based and remote working.
  • Executives agree. 77% of C-suite leaders said businesses will benefit from increased flexibility.
  • You should be paying for the work, not the hours. A majority of people (69%) said they would like to see contracts based on results rather than hours worked.
  • Again, execs agree. 74% of C-suite executives said that the length of the working week should be revisited.

The pandemic may also change what we expect from our leaders. Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said their mental wellbeing had suffered because of the pandemic, while only 10% rated their managers highly on their ability to support their emotional health.  

Respondents also said they have been upskilling and improving their tech skills in the past few months. Sixty per cent say their digital skills have improved, and a number of skills were identified as important by the workforce as being of future importance, including managing staff remotely (65%), soft skills (63%) and creative thinking (55%).

The Adecco Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Alain Dehaze, said in a statement, “The world of work will never return to the ‘normal’ we knew before the pandemic struck. The sudden and dramatic change in the workplace landscape has accelerated emerging trends such as flexible working, high-EQ leadership, and re-skilling, to the point where they are now fundamental to organisational success. As many countries emerge from the acute crisis phase of the pandemic, employers have an opportunity to ‘hit reset’ on traditional workplace practices – many of which have remained largely unchanged since the industrial revolution.

“This research highlights that employee attitudes have shifted and gaps between workforce expectations and entrenched labour market processes have been exposed. As we step into the new era of work, now is the time to establish better norms that will enable a holistically healthy, productive and inclusive workforce into the future.”

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