Are These Workforce Trends Going to Last?
Posted April 20, 2020 in Articles
In 2021, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond. Many of the article’s predictions have held true thus far; but, with the continuing rapid evolution of business practices and societal norms, will these trends continue to hold into 2023 (and beyond)? Here are our thoughts on five of the article’s predictions that have held true so far:
#1 “Employers will shift from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience of their employees.”
This has proven to be most true at large companies that can afford to meaningfully impact their employees’ life experience beyond their jobs and careers. Google, for example, is well-known for offering on-site recreational, exercise and even sleeping facilities to its employees. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some companies are making efforts to ensure that their remote employees are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance while working from home. As employees grow to expect these types of benefits and support, they will likely become commonplace in the human resources (HR) sphere.
#2 “Flexibility will shift from location to time.”
This prediction was predicated on the fact that many employees have already transitioned to remote (or partially remote) work. While the 40-hour workweek has long been standard, many companies are now focusing more on productivity than hours spent behind a desk.
#3 “Mental health support is the new normal.”
Mental health remains a major topic of conversation; and, as awareness of the importance of mental health continues to grow, we expect companies to continue prioritizing mental health support for their employees.
#4 “Employers will look to ‘rent’ talent to fill the skills gap.”
While the economic challenges triggered by the pandemic caused many former employees to turn to independent contracting, the gig economy was already growing steadily before the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect this trend to continue as well, as it offers the flexibility many workers desire while also offering efficiencies to employers.
#5 “States will compete to attract individual talent rather than trying to get companies to relocate.”
As the article notes, during the pandemic several states and cities have launched initiatives designed to attract remote workers. Given the success of many of these initiatives (combined with our expectation that remote work will remain prevalent post-pandemic), we expect more jurisdictions to follow suit throughout the remainder of 2022 and in the years to come.
Cheap housing, reduced taxes and cash payments are just a few examples of initiatives states and cities have used to attract remote workers thus far. Eventually, some states may need to consider employer incentives as well to ensure that their newly-relocated remote workers still have desirable job opportunities available.
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