The COVID-19 pandemic created a massive shift in workplace culture and employee value systems, and the effects of this global health crisis on the business world are still being evaluated. During the height of the pandemic, as many as one third of Americans were working remotely. Now, as COVID numbers drop and the vaccine becomes readily available, more and more businesses are returning to in-person operations, but many have permanently altered their processes.
For example, several large media companies including Facebook and Twitter have stated that they will be placing an increasing focus on remote employment opportunities in the future. These media giants are setting the trend for countries across the country to follow suit.
But businesses aren’t the only ones who have evolved and adapted as a result of COVID-19 Surveys have found that in a post-pandemic world, employees are returning to the in-person workforce with new priorities and goals. The pandemic sent a shock wave through the entire world. This global health crisis is unprecedented in modern history, and has taken a toll on our collective mental health, economy, lifestyles and cultural norms. It is still unclear just how widespread and long-lasting the psychological effects of the pandemic will last.
Whether employees return to the office or continue to work from home in the coming months and years, priorities have shifted. Here are just some of the ways that employee values have changed during COVID.
- Valuing flexibility. During the coronavirus pandemic, many employees became accustomed to more flexible work schedules and setting their own hours. According to a Gallup poll, 54% of office workers say they’d leave their job for one that offers flexible work time.
- Shorter work days. Working from home often means shorter work days. There are fewer distractions, fewer meetings, and less pressure to run out the clock once daily tasks have been completed. Employees, especially those from the millennial generation, are valuing shorter work days and feel less pressure to commit to 40-60 hours per week.
- Workplace attire. Many sources are predicting that workplace attire may be permanently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After working from home for more than a year, many employees may be reluctant to don formal businesswear when heading into the office.
- Valuing time with family and loved ones. During the coronavirus pandemic, many companies encouraged employees to spend time with their families and take advantage of the extra time at home. This prioritization of work-life balance will likely continue even as many employees begin to return to work in person.
- More emphasis on health benefits, including mental health benefits. Surveys have found that more Americans than ever are seeking mental health services. Employees post-pandemic will likely favor companies that offer health benefits and invest in employee mental health through generous leave policies and mental health support programs.
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