[qz-guide-hero id=”434623025″ title=”💡 The Big Idea” description=”A year into the pandemic, work is different—it’s better, but also harder. What does that mean for the future?”]
By the digits
6.9%: Jobs posting on Indeed in Feb. 2021 that are for remote positions, vs 2.9% in Jan. 2020
79%: Global survey respondents who said “the ability to live anywhere” would be important to them
2.5: Additional hours per week people are working on average during the pandemic
61%: Corporate leaders (more likely to be men who worked from home in executive jobs) say they’re “thriving” right now, according to a 2021 Microsoft survey
44%: Remote workers who say their mental health has declined in the past year
“What we’ve been really looking at, though we are very excited about the interest, is that conversion to actual hiring. We’ve yet to see that.”
—Catrina DosReis, the director at North Carolina Central University’s career and professional development center. She says the historically Black university has seen more attention from employers offering skills development for soon-to-be graduates.
Commonly held question
Should employees be paid less when they move to a less expensive place?
As employees at companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have worked remotely during the pandemic, some of these companies are giving employees the freedom to flee the exorbitant rents of expensive cities. But for many employees, that flexibility can come at a price—namely, a pay cut.
These policies might not seem so outlandish; after all, location is a factor that most companies take into account when determining the wages they pay employees. But there are a number of reasons why companies that dock remote workers’ pay might come to regret it, such as lowering employee morale and losing out on top talent, likely without losing workers’ productivity.
One big number
38%: People who, in an April 2020 survey, said their company had not asked them how they were doing.
Read more about how companies can support employee mental health.
In a Boston Consulting Group study of caregivers in the workplace, which group was most worried about their future in the company because of the constraints they are facing at home?
- Working fathers
- Working mothers
- Male employees looking after an adult (typically a parent) at home
- Women looking after an adult at home
Answer at end of email.
Surveys show that workers prefer a hybrid work model in which they go into an office a few days per week. But Darren Murph, head of remote work culture at GitLab, suggests that small organizations consider keeping all executives out of the office “so they send the right signal that the office is not the epicenter of power. The office is not the place where you come to get promoted.”
Some of our predictions last year were right on the money, while others were off the mark. Still others are too early to call. But here’s what the experts predict might be coming for our workplace futures.
🥱 Companies that make bold bets on work-from-anywhere policies may find productivity dropping if they do not redesign their work systems and reshape company culture for a remote world.
🚜 Companies will recognize the talent outside big global cities as they hire and onboard employees remotely.
💼 However, fewer people of color and others from marginalized communities will be promoted into leadership positions if they disproportionately choose to work remotely. Blame proximity bias.
🗳️ US companies will expand their definition of diversity to include employees with diverse political views, or risk volatility and conflict ahead of future elections.
✊🏿 Expect even more employee activism and organizing, trends that gained momentum and political protections during the pandemic.
📋 More managers will be retrained to manage hybrid and remote teams, while employees will learn new skills, like how to prioritize tasks or write low-context memos.
💻 Watch for the split between companies who decide to allow remote and those who support it. The second group will become the more sought-after among job seekers.
🕹️ “Presenteeism” will morph into “remoteeism” if companies continue to demand too much from remote workers without emphasizing the need for rest and restoration.
📚 Read the field guide
How work has changed a year into the pandemic
Quiz: How much do you know about what employees want now?
The case against cutting remote workers’ big-city salaries
How HBCUs are responding to the flood of corporate diversity initiatives
How to support employee mental health at every level of the firm
📣 Sound off
In 10 years, how do you think we’ll work?
In last week’s poll about video game live streaming, 60% of respondents said “no thanks” to watching a stream. OK, but you got to the bottom of our email, so maybe you can still be convinced.
The answer to the quiz was C, male employees looking after an adult at home.
Forty percent of men looking after a parent or other adult at home expressed concern about their job security, compared to 27% of men who were not caregivers. Take the full quiz here.