Our future work lives
AsAs the pandemic drags along, so does the profound reorganization of work and office lives.
AfterMany white-collar employees have become accustomed to working from home for the convenience of not having to commute in a single year. CompaniesAre reevaluating whether they should rent large offices with fewer workers. A record number U.S. workers quit their jobs in September as the “Great Resignation” continues, while thousands more are protesting pay or working conditions.
ForMy colleague gave me insight into the changing tides of the pandemic and how they will impact our work lives. Emma Goldberg. (She’s already making waves on her new beat with a look at conflicts in the office between GenZ and millennials.
You’re the new future of work reporter at The Times. WhatWhat does this mean?
It’s an exciting beat because it’s very broad — it encompasses everything from the social dynamics of the workplace and the design of the office to whether the office itself has a future. It covers everything from what productivity means and how it’s assessed, to the public health implications of our return to offices.
WhereHow does the situation stand regarding the return to office?
Many companies were supposed to be back at their offices in the next few days. JulyOr SeptemberHowever, it is also available with the Delta variant’s surge, there were a lot of postponements. Now, there are companies that are saying they’re going to be back in offices in JanuaryOr in the early 2022. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
ThatThe following is the conclusion. BidenMandates should make both workers and employers feel safer. SomeExperts believe that smaller and mid-sized companies will follow their lead. SoAs vaccine mandates are issued over the next 60-days, we may see more of those long-elusive openings finally happening.
WhatWhat trends will influence our work lives in coming years?
The question of flexibility is a big one. During the pandemic, a lot of companies had to face the fact that some of the norms of the office that have been so fundamental for years aren’t necessary to produce great work output. InThey made it really difficult for some people. ThatEmployers had to reflect on what level of flexibility could be offered to workers.
AnotherTrend is the war for talent. RightThere is a huge labor shortage right now. Record high numbers of people are leaving their jobs, making talent scarce. That’s pushing companies to rethink what perks they’re offering, from raises to other kind of benefits. And that’s happening across sectors.
There’s also continued conversations about what companies can do to support the movement for racial justice. LastThis summer, companies made numerous commitments to rethinking their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. NowA little more than a year later, workers are asking questions about how the process turned out and what companies are doing to keep their promises.
HowHow has the pandemic affected work culture?
Companies that went remote or hybrid over the last year had to rethink what it means to build culture when workers aren’t sitting next to each other. ForFor some companies, this has meant hosting virtual holiday parties and carving pumpkins. OthersThey have their employees go on virtual hikes together. That is, they each go on individual walks and call each other as they go. And still others are finding that their workers miss being together in person, and they’re coming back to their desks to hang out even though it’s not required.
WhatWhat about long-term changes in our work lives and careers?
SomethingMany people have shared their thoughts over the past year that the pandemic has forced them to confront the importance of their careers and the role of work in the lives of their families. It’s forced them to question what really makes them happy and how to build a balance between work and life that feels more sustainable. ThisMentality could lead to a significant shift in the amount of time and energy we spend on our jobs or in how we define boundaries between work life.
WhatBosses want it
C.E.O.s are struggling with how and when to bring employees back to the office — or if they even need to bring employees back at all. Many are eager for employees to return, but they’re also afraid of alienating those who have grown accustomed to working from home. SeveralWith bosses The Times’s David Gelles:
At UpworkEmployees are helping to shape company policies, and to determine the future of their shared office lives.
“I think they do have more power now,” said Hayden Brown, Upwork’s chief executive. “Companies are listening to their employees more than ever before, and I think that’s partly because the war for talent is greater than ever.”
For Chris Merrill, co-founder and chief executive of Harrison StreetRemote work is romanticized.
“Being in the office makes sense,” he said. “It’s very, very important for the younger people to be together. ThatThey learn from it. ThatThey grow where they are. That is where you’re going to create upward mobility.”
DownsidesYou can stay far away
Andi OwenMillerKnoll’s chief executive warned that workers who refuse to return to work could be isolated and put at disadvantage.
“One of my biggest worries is that we’re going to have remote orphans,” she said. “Walking down the hall to somebody’s office and knocking on the door, or doing a drive-by versus setting up a video appointment, these things are easier to do in person.”
TheFlexibility offers many benefits
Liz FraserThe chief executive of Kate SpadeHe worked tirelessly for many years and now has a 18-year-old daughter. She said she wished she’d had more opportunities to work remotely earlier in her career.
“It would have been a game changer for me to have had a little bit more flexibility so that I could take my meetings from home in the afternoon,” she said. “I definitely traveled a lot and I worked really hard, and I wanted to. I don’t regret it. But there’s no such thing as quality time. There’s just time.”
What else we’re following
Source: NY Times