On Aug. 4, 2020, eventual Pulitzer Prize-winning COVID-19 journalist Ed Yong wrote in The Atlantic: “Normal led to this.” Mr. Yong wrote a lot more, but those four words succinctly describe how our social patchwork that we collectively worked to build over generations seemingly disintegrated in early 2020.
We didn’t just experience a societal earthquake two years ago – we saw all changed utterly, to borrow from a Yeats poem. And we had to adapt quickly to survive.
Employers didn’t escape without struggle, either. The working world had to navigate as well. To better understand the impacts of the pandemic on the workplace, we surveyed hundreds of businesses in June 2020.
The result was the New World of Work survey report published in August 2020 with numerous insights on what the work world looked like at that point and what the future of work might look like.
And now, we at Workable conducted the same survey again in June and July 2022 – with a few updated questions. We now understand what anticipated developments from 2020 turned out to be true, and what were way off mark. And what threads from that patchwork remained intact from before, and what new threads are being sewn. Is the future of work based on our 2020 survey a reality? Or does it look different?
This new report has two parts: first, what we learned about the present and future of work from this new survey, and second, how the new survey results compare with those from two years ago. Enjoy the read, and learn what today’s world of work looks like – and what it might look like tomorrow.
Major takeaways include the following:
- Flexwork is here to stay – especially in location. More than four out of five businesses have some form of location flexibility in their work, whether it’s fully or partially remote, or a hybrid working environment.
- Partial remote is booming. Fully remote operations are on the downswing from the early days of the pandemic (52.4% of businesses now, 62.6% two years ago) – and partial remote has nearly doubled since then (59.2% now, 32.3% two years ago).
- Remote isn’t as sustainable as people initially thought it was. Two years ago, one third of businesses said 75% of their workers could work fully remotely without disruption – only half that number think so now (17.5%).
- For those working remote-first, comm tech is a huge unifier. Three quarters of businesses say they’re using communications technology now compared with 52.6% in 2020.
- Employee monitoring is on the rise. Right now, 22.5% of businesses are using time-tracking and / or employee monitoring tools – up from 14.6% two years ago.
- But there’s one benefit of remote: larger talent markets. 53.3% of businesses are now expanding their job postings to other locations compared with just 30.1% in 2020.
- If your in-house recruiting team is strapped for resources, you’re not alone. Reduced in-house capacity to recruit is much more of a challenge to hiring today (27.5%) than in 2020 (14.9%).
- Self-starters are in vogue now. Seven out of 10 businesses (69%) now consider a self-starter mentality hugely value when hiring compared with just over half two years ago (54.2%).
- Money is becoming a more significant driver now than before. 56.2% of employers say compensation is growing in importance now compared with 33.3% in 2020.
- Return to normal? What even is “normal” anymore? Just one in 25 respondents (3.9%) in 2020 said their industry wouldn’t return to normal – that number’s since grown to 22.7% now. And, in 2020, only 3% said their business and operations wouldn’t return to normal at all – that number is now nearly 20%.