- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, U.S. workers are beginning to adjust to the new "normal," acclimating to new work environments and having more confidence in employers, according to a report by the ADP Research Institute. "A Workplace Redefined," released June 1, tracked how workplaces are evolving and its effect on employees. Beginning the week of March 16 through May 11, ADP conducted a random, online survey of more than 24,000 workers ages 18.
- Topics covered included telework, employer response to the pandemic and the impact on their productivity. Respondents' stress levels, productivity and work-life balance are beginning to stabilize from week to week rather than decline, according to the report. Worker confidence appears to be stabilizing as well. The majority (68%) of workers expected to retain their job for at least the next month, and 31% expected to return to work within the month. The cause of this confidence could stem from government programs made available, businesses reopening and a fluctuating stock market, researchers said.
- More than half (65%) of workers surveyed said COVID-19 has negatively impacted their finances, or expect it will soon. However, 58% expect their finances will return to previous levels, shortly, "including 60% of those reporting job loss or furlough," according to ADP. By the eight week of the survey, 60% of workers noted satisfaction regarding employer response to COVID-19. And more than 60% of those highly satisfied "believed their company was putting people first," ADP stated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised companies in February to begin to prepare telework to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By March, many companies shifted to remote work to preserve employee safety.
"The workforce has hit a new 'normal' in what it looks like and how it functions, and it is clear that employers and employees adapted quickly to a new way of working," Ahu Yildirmaz, the co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said in a statement.
The ADP report indicated that employers that responded effectively to employee concerns about safety, technology for remote work duties and flexibility, for example, may be stabilizing employee confidence rather than seeing a continued decline. Companies that lead with empathy and economics, such as preserving jobs, will be rewarded with loyalty from employees, according to Mercer.
In looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, as some companies prepare to reopen physical workplaces for employees, employers must focus on upholding company values and committing to putting people first, according to EY. The firm's Physical Return and Work Reimagined framework was released May 7.
"Organizations will need to completely reimagine their business model and transform, if they are to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world," Mike Bertolino, EY global people advisory services leader, said in a statement.
Shifts in workforce flexibility will become a necessity, Yildirmaz said.
"This pandemic has significantly changed the world of work, upended employees' everyday lives, and undoubtedly will have a long-lasting effect on organizations," he said. "The rate of the labor market decline is historic, yet employee sentiment has begun to show stabilization."