Post-Covid Work Trends and the Future of Work

Digital transformation is the key to post-covid work trends as organizations try various strategies that provide better outcomes.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reset the way the world works. Businesses and companies now need to rethink how to manage post-covid work trends like their remote workforce, hiring policies, skills, and experience needs.

“It’s critical for business leaders to understand that large-scale shifts are changing how people work and how business gets done,” says Brian Kropp, vice president, Gartner. “HR leaders who respond effectively can ensure their organizations stand out from competitors.”

Post-Covid Work Trends

Post-COVID Work Trends Future of Work

Remote Work

The greatest change seen is in remote work operations. The adoption of remote work options and a flexible work routine have thrown up more solutions than problems. 

The pivot has definitely forced organizations to explore the critical competencies that employees need to collaborate digitally and be prepared to adjust employee experience strategies. Performance evaluation and work goals also need to be recalibrated to suit the new work norms.

Organizations are becoming experimentative and fluid with how they approach work, working environment, expectations, and employee relations bettering the future of work.

A recent Gartner poll showed that 48% of employees would likely work remotely after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic. 

A Future Forum research of 4,700 knowledge workers found the majority never want to go back to the old way of working. Only 12% want to return to full-time office work, and 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. 

ThoughtWorks Chief Operating Officer, Saptorsi Hore said that clients have gradually become more comfortable in their support of remote working, and the organization sees a dramatic shift in their expectation of flexibility in post-covid work trends. “While we recognize that a complete shift to ‘100% remote working’ will impact client relationships, our culture and our ability to attract and retain talent – we also believe there is a middle ground to be found.

We see an opportunity to drive great value for our clients and ThoughtWorkers, alike by altering our engagement models to allow for more flexibility. This could be in the form of working out of client premises, in our offices and from home. Some of the principles guiding our approach include engaging with clients and employees to solicit inputs, proactively extending flexible working options, experimenting and quickly understanding the impact of our changes and sharing our learnings.”

Contingent worker expansion.

The economic uncertainty of the pandemic led many organizations to cut their manpower. Along with the economic and humanitarian cost, this was just a stopgap arrangement. The new reality was that companies needed to adopt nonstandard work models. One of that was hiring a contingent workforce.

“Our research finds that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure,” said Kropp. “While gig workers offer employers greater workforce management flexibility, HR leaders will need to evaluate how performance management systems apply to these workers and determine whether they will be eligible for the same benefits as their full-time peers.”

Humanizing or not

The pandemic has led many organizations to adopt worker-friendly policies that prioritized the well-being of the workers. But on the other hand, there are some which have pushed employees to work in conditions that are high risk with little support.

Be that as it may, what the risk has done is push the well-being question center stage and debate the response of the companies, especially the big ticket ones, for the welfare of their workers.

Employers’ role as a social safety net has also increased during the pandemic and will see a continuation post-pandemic for the better future of work and workers.

The role takes the form of increased sick leave, financial and family support. Personal factors have started figuring in organizational considerations. This can also be an effective way to promote the physical and emotional well-being of employees.

Transition from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience

The crisis has disrupted the earlier efficiency models. A streamlining of roles with a smooth supply chain and workflow created cost efficiencies, but the pandemic showed up the model’s fragility. The system did not respond well to the disruption in their workflow.

Resilient organizations were better able to respond — correct course quickly with change.

M&A Activity 

A recent Gartner survey says that global M&A activity increased after the financial crisis, and many companies were nationalized to avoid failure. It says there will be a similar acceleration of M&A and nationalization of companies post-covid. Reason being an ability to hedge their bets and get a foothold in diverse markets and manage risks better.

But the organizational expansion is bound to create challenges of operation and management and higher leadership skills. 

Other realities of the post-pandemic situation are that some jobs, especially the low-paying customer service jobs, will need a rethink and upskilling when it comes to post-covid work trends. The cutdown in commute and travel due to the new model of working is bound to affect people in janitorial, transport, travel, and other such tasks.

The urban-centric focus is likely to decrease with people now wanting to move away from crowded places and seeking suburban or semi-rural options. The remote work model allows greater residential flexibility.

Another major difference in outlook is the government’s role in market forces. Without government support, the present crisis would have driven many economies to the ground.

A capital market economy quite obviously will not be able to drive the new reality of interrupted education, the new infrastructure investments, a more climate responsible development, and such. States will have to be involved willy-nilly for a long time to improve work trends and the future of work post-covid.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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