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The Evolution of Work

We may still be living with the Covid-19 pandemic for a while, however thanks to vaccines life has begun to get back to normal. People are back in restaurants, going to festivals and traveling again, and many businesses are also letting their workers return to the office.

Social scientists have begun to evaluate the impact the pandemic has had on work, learning and play. It may take a while to understand the full impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on us both personally and professionally, however one thing that the pandemic has dramatically changed is how we work and the future of the workplace.

Employees are driving the evolution of work

Often business leaders want their employees back in the office to help rebuild company culture and community, however they are also aware that if they move too quickly and push employees back into the office when they are not ready, they risk resentment and resistance from employees. Companies seem to be listening to their employees, and it is in fact employees that are driving this evolution of work.

Many companies are shifting to a hybrid workplace, however figuring out what hybrid means for their organisation is often a more difficult task.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company showed that 39% of employees struggled to maintain a strong connection with colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic as informal social networks weakened. This is something that employees specifically want to rebuild in the workplace. However, there’s an overwhelming desire for a hybrid workplace, with nearly three-quarters of the 5,000 employees McKinsey surveyed saying they’d like to work from home for two or more days per week, and more than half wanting at least three days of remote work.

What the pandemic has taught us

The future of work is still very much up in the air, and getting it right will depend on strong communication between employee and employers to help reshape the structures that existed before the pandemic.

For years, prior to the pandemic, the tech industry had been the leader in office innovation, with many creative perks, generous benefits and flexible working. It had a reputation for creating an environment that encouraged collaboration and positive team culture,  where people were able to be there most creative and innovative.

Employees are very much at the forefront of the evolution of work, and as such it should be them that are speaking up about what would encourage them to return to the office regularly, while maintaining a critical work-life balance. If employers ask employees how they are doing, and what matters most, they will gain an insight into how to enable the best employee experience. This way employees will be able to adapt and stay relevant to the future of work no matter what is driving the change.