- Since the pandemic began, employers have stepped up, the Randstad study found: more than half have offered work-from-home support — such as a work phone, office chair, desk or open-ended equipment stipend; 86% have prioritized employees' mental health by expanding the portfolio of mental health benefits, checking in with employees and through other means; and 20% introduced flexible work hours.
- Workers have already adjusted — long-term, for some — to new work conditions. Fifty-four percent of workers stated a preference for hybrid work going forward, and nearly a quarter of remote workers have already relocated to another city, town or state since the pandemic began. Seventy-five percent of workers said they're more reliant on technology, but 1 in 4 said it caused concern.
- The survey, the results of which Randstad published in a report called "The Next Normal," included input obtained in March from 1,213 American workers and 1,589 Randstad customers.
Hybrid work looks to be "the new norm," Randstad declared in the survey, demonstrating that the pandemic pushed employers to rapidly embrace a change in company culture and expectations. The company's findings align with other surveys that show the move toward hybrid work is underway; a West Monroe poll released in April, for example, showed that 1 in 5 employers is already implementing the method.
While the future of work may be here, the rapid transition caused by the pandemic means the shift as employers reopen offices may be rocky. Introducing hybrid work will require planning and communication from HR and managers, a source recently told HR Dive. In addition, leaders need to consider how the introduction of hybrid work may affect office culture and which positions and sites cannot uphold the model.
Despite the headaches implementing hybrid work may cause, however, employers should avoid throwing away the approach just because it introduces some snags in the beginning. That could have a major impact on employee morale, the source said.
Indeed, while the pandemic may have begun with mass unemployment, workers have more recently gained a significant upper hand and a greater sense of agency in the workplace, due in part to employers' need for talent, which is only expected to increase. This is especially true for blue-collar and manual service jobs in industries like construction, transportation, manufacturing and retail. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the quit rate for the restaurant and hotel industry is at an all-time high.
In its report, Randstad suggested that organizations commit to preparing for the hybrid workforce. "Our new normal has been a radical departure, but our next normal will be continued evolution," it concluded. "The coming changes may not be as drastic, and the stakes may not be as high, but organizations' ability to rise to the challenges ahead will still be critical to their continued success."