Admit it. Spending seven to eight hours a day in online meetings is exhausting. You have felt tempted to keep your camera turned off, or have found yourself tuning out or doing other tasks because no one can see or hear you. Despite the fact that you are expected to attend remote meetings and can easily become bored or distracted, you have grown accustomed to your new lifestyle and are beginning to question if you will ever return to your workplace permanently.
Before March 2020, many of us couldn’t envision working from home either part time or full-time. When the world shut down, working from kitchen or dining room tables became the norm for millions of people across the globe. Almost two years later as the world continues to reel from COVID-19 variants, economic uncertainty and massive change that has impacted every aspect of our lives, one thing is clear: The world of work has changed forever.
Findings from an Ipsos survey, conducted in partnership with the World Economic Forum, indicate that 23% of employed adults across 29 countries are now working from home more often than they were prior to the pandemic. Interestingly, 33% of those surveyed also noted that when the pandemic ends, they would prefer working from home every day while almost the same percentage stated the opposite.
So, what are the implications for the future of work? What can we glean from these statistics? Even with hard data evidence, some myths and truths about working in a virtual world persist.
Employers believe that the majority of workers want to return to the office
Research indicates that workers prefer a hybrid model. Flexibility is the key. According to the Future Forum Pulse Survey, 76% of employees want flexibility in where they work and 93% want flexibility when they work. Executives have a strong preference to return to the office, while their employee preferences differ greatly. Consider the ramifications of these new realities, as well as immediate action steps you can take to mitigate a calamity in your organization.
The Great Resignation is a “fad”
The Great Resignation, a term that describes the mass exodus of people from their occupations during and after the pandemic ends, is a trend that has picked up speed and shows no sign of slowing down. According to the job site Monster.com, 95% of workers are now considering changing jobs and 92% are willing to switch industries to find the right position. Many individuals are re-evaluating their work/life priorities and reassessing their lifestyles, emboldened to change their work circumstances as a result of the pandemic.
The world of virtual work detracts from personal connection
Human beings are wired to crave connection. While there is no doubt that many of us have missed being physically connected to our friends, family and loved ones, technology has helped bridge the gap, creating opportunities for people to connect socially and professionally. Human connection can be maintained over a variety of virtual platforms, as long as communication is regular, transparent and authentic.