The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped how people view employment, and the types of work arrangements they're seeking. Here are five workplace trends Andrew Chamberlain, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Director of Research at Glassdoor, sees emerging in 2021, based on his new research report. These trends are what Chamberlain believes will take hold, even as the pandemic winds down, and some offices begin to reopen and welcome back their employees to a physical work location. Our goal is to offer our insights on how workers and employers can best prepare for these trends in the months and years ahead, to hedge against the risks they pose, and harness the opportunities they create to build a better workplace of the future.
Trend 1: Workers will prefer a hybrid WFH model, even after offices reopen
Millions of Americans were forced to work from home in 2020, but we expect most will return to in-person workplaces, once COVID-19 is under control. That being said, a Glassdoor report found that 86% of workers say they would prefer to continue working from home, at least part time, after offices reopen.
Remote workforces work best with at least some in-person office work. While fully remote teams have financial and recruiting benefits, they also suffer from lower spontaneity, more challenges forming bonds, and lower innovation. That being said, another report found that remote working lifted productivity by 5%, mostly due to savings in commuting time.
It'll be key to ensure your workforce has the option to work from home, at least part time, in order to prevent turnover: 17% of employees said they would consider quitting their job if they were required to return to the office 5 days per week.
Trend 2: Employees expect progress, not just pledges, on corporate DEI
The Black Lives Matter movement cast new light on racial inequality in 2020, and companies are being pushed to make tangible progress on diversity and inclusion like never before.
Hiring for diversity, equity, and inclusion has been on the rise for years, and workers are looking for concrete action from their employers: 76% of employees and job seekers say that they're looking for a diverse workforce when evaluating a company. This is especially true for Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ job seekers and employees. Moreover, roughly 1 in 3 employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce.
The public and employees alike will expect progress reports in 2021. New Glassdoor tools help companies spotlight their diversity efforts, be more transparent about progress, and communicate where challenges remain in 2021.
Trend 3: Salary expectations get a permanent WFH rehaul
Millions of Americans are thinking about moving, or did move, to new cities while working from home. If this trend continues, brace for big salary adjustments in 2021, as workers face a shifting competitive landscape.
Tech workers decamping from expensive cities, like San Francisco and New York, could face eventual pay adjustments of -5 percent to -30 percent, depending on where they move. What this also means is that companies looking to hire remote workers can expand their candidate pool, eliminating location biases.
In most companies, workplace perks, like free catered lunch and company parties, are on hold until the pandemic is truly over. But they'll return as teams scramble to rebuild social bonds and reignite a spirit of innovation once the pandemic is under control.
Trend 4: Even the best company cultures must adapt to new post-COVID-19 realities and embrace employer branding
Companies have lost an important way of controlling corporate identity and employer branding during COVID-19: The design, look and feel of physical corporate headquarters.
Online company reviews are playing a significant role in employer branding during this shift to remote working, with 86% of employees and job seekers saying they research company reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply for a job. Companies who survive and thrive in 2021 will be those who embrace employee sentiment data (i.e. reviews) as business intelligence.
Branding is also more important than ever: 86% of women and 67% of men in the United States wouldn't join a company with a bad reputation. Strong branding is also good for your company's bottom line, as great company branding can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%, and a negative reputation can cost a company as much as 10% more per hire.
Companies don't need lavish corporate campuses to build culture. Three factors matter most for worker satisfaction, none of which depend on maintaining in-person offices. These include: Having a compelling company mission, promoting transparent and empathetic leaders, and building clear career opportunities for workers.
Trend 5: The COVID-19 recession is probably already over, but some jobs may never return
The global economy suffered a massive blow in 2020. But even assuming the virus is under control in 2021, it promises to be a year of rebuilding, recovery, and job growth as employers, workers, and consumers adapt to a post-COVID-19 world.
Many jobs were lost and won't be coming back soon. Glassdoor data shows devastating impacts, particularly on lower-skilled service jobs, education jobs, administrative office roles, sales roles, and many discretionary healthcare jobs. That being said, other jobs are seeing increased demand, such as e-commerce roles, delivery, and social media jobs.
Even when the COVID-19 recession is a distant memory, there will be lasting impacts on workers, jobs, and companies. People will save money and plan for retirement differently, and demand better health and flexible time benefits from employers.
How do you want your people to remember how you supported them during COVID-19? To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.