From the Gig Economy to the Hybrid Model: Shifting Priorities in the Workplace
For many of us, the commute to work used to take at least an hour, and we’d either be navigating traffic or train schedules to and fro. Nowadays, for many, the morning commute takes less than ten seconds, as it means walking from the bedroom into the home office.
And back in the day, people clung to their jobs like their life depended on it. More recently, however, employees resign and move onto greener pastures with alarming ease.
Data Tracking for Employees
Many of us, it’s true, still face a commute every morning on the way to work. But the trend of working remotely is increasing, no doubt about it. Over four million people work from home at least half the time, a 140% increase from 2005.
According to a 2021 study, more than half of employers will continue to offer a hybrid work model, allowing employees to work from home some of the time.
For a boss, this means it’s no longer an option to step up to an employee’s desk during the day to see how things are going. This naturally creates unease, and employers are resorting to alternate methods for monitoring staff.
More and more, with remote teams, managers and bosses are looking at tracking data in order to know how employees spend their time. Things like web cams, hourly tracking, and keyboard tracking tools all serve to assure employers that time is well spent.
Additionally, by looking at stats and data from interoffice communications, it’s possible for project managers to evaluate team dynamics, and monitor how remote teams engage and get along.
Administrative Jobs Decline
The shift to a remote work environment marks an even greater dependence on technology. More and more, we’re working in a paperless environment.
These changes eliminate a need for many low-skill office jobs. According to a study by McKinsey, office support jobs will have gone away almost entirely by 2030.
It’s not exactly a scenario of “the robots taking over,” but without any telephones to answer, break room coffee to make, or papers to file, certain office roles just aren’t needed anymore.
Recruitment Pool Increases
Now that most companies have remote work systems in place, the size of their recruitment pool has increased tremendously. Whereas formerly, companies were limited to only hiring someone local or willing to relocate, now they can potentially hire anyone with access to the internet.
In theory, this poses a real benefit to companies. It’s much easier to match skill sets to positions. Formerly, a company might have to forego its first choice if the recruit was unwilling to relocate. Not anymore.
It also saves the employer quite a bit of money on things like rental space and office equipment. It’s estimated that a company saves up to $11K a year for an employee who works remote only part of the time.
Employees Have the Upper Hand
Employees have gotten quite used to flexible working conditions, and they don’t want to let them go away. Apparently, making the work commute two times a day, five days a week isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper. Remote workers say they save up to $5,000 a year.
In a recent study, 40% of workers went so far as to say they’d even quit working for their current employer if he or she didn’t offer flexible working options.
This shift in priority particularly stems from younger Millennial and Generation Z employees, so it’s likely only to increase.
A Shift in Recruitment and Retention Strategies
Employees spoke pretty loudly in 2021. In August alone, 4.3 million quit their jobs. This comprises 3% of the total workforce.
A trend this dramatic leaves employers scrambling to find replacements. In an effort to both recruit and retain employees, they’ve had to offer better benefits, more flexibility, and better working conditions.
And off boarding, too, receives much more TLC than it has in the past. To the employee, it no longer means sailing off into the sunset, never to interact with the company again. Many companies have put policies in place that maintain a bond with former employees. The NFL offers them access to healthcare, as well as the use of its training facilities. Linkedin’s former employees receive premium membership for life.
By approaching a resignation with the intent to maintain a bond, the company only stands to gain. Some resignees turn into boomerang employees. And others are more likely to recommend the company to someone else.
Gig Economy Expands
According to Ida Liu, the Global Head of Private Banking at Citi Global Wealth, the number of people using gig work for their primary or secondary income has more than doubled in the past five years, comprising over a third of the total workforce.
Assuming this increase is driven by the workers themselves, then this is yet another signal that the labor force wants more flexibility. And it has huge implications for the onboarding processes in human resources departments and team building techniques for project managers.
Integrating temporary workers into the company culture, and fostering strong team dynamics is a totally different game when people have commitments to other companies at the same time.
Change is always constant, but in the current labor market, we’re seeing even more of it than usual. Major shifts have dramatically impacted the priorities of both employees and employers.
These changes are largely caused by an increase in remote work and the gig economy. Plus, people no longer stay with the same employer as they traditionally used to, but change jobs with ease. Due to an increasing dependence on technology, some jobs are going away altogether. And hybrid work arrangements are the model of the future.
But the AI future that people like Andrew Yang have forecasted doesn’t seem to be coming to pass, where robots take over every job, and people need a UBI just to get by. Rather, the landscape is looking more nuanced. Employers in fact are eager to recruit and retain employees.
Whether you’re an employee looking for work, or a recruiter in human resources, you’re feeling the effects of these changes. It’s probably exciting but also a little unnerving to navigate them, and all their ripple effects. It requires patience and an ability to remain calm in the midst of uncertainty.