Many people changed the way they work to adapt to stay-at-home orders. These changes are likely to cause many longer-term shifts, as we are noticing a re-evaluation of what is important in the eyes of employees. People are now less concerned with the in-office food options and collegiality of open-concept workspaces, and more concerned with their and their families’ safety. The type of lifestyle perks that used to attract employees are no longer considered important, and ideas like remote-work are no longer reserved for the tech industry.
Flexible schedules, autonomy, and even shorter workweeks are what your employees consider not only ’The New Normal’ but the bare minimum when deciding to stay at their current job or look for new work. Employees are looking for companies that have quickly adapted to provide a healthy and flexible environment for their workers, even if that means a completely remote workforce. People are asking in their interviews “What was your company’s COVID-19 response? What did you do to help your employees and your communities?” Are you prepared to answer that question, proudly?
Some companies have adapted quickly and have realized the benefits. PDQ, a software company out of Salt Lake City, has been able to compete for talent with big Silicon Valley tech companies by offering their employees a 4-day workweek, focusing on productivity rather than time spent in the office. Shawn Anderson, co-founder, said his company’s “four-day week has been a boon for recruitment and retention” (via NBC). “People say, ‘I don’t think I can ever go back.’ That’s probably the thing we hear the most,” Anderson said. “Right now, we see this as one of the biggest perks, one of the biggest benefits we offer.” The 4-day workweek has a direct impact on the talent at PDQ. Buffer, another software company from San Francisco, also pivoted to a 4-day workweek in May with entire teams choosing one day a week to take off to ensure no one feels behind. Customer service roles have also made modifications in shifts to ensure coverage through the full week (via Buffer Blog).
Some analysts believe that a hybrid model is more effective, taking into account different personality types that feed off of in-office interactions, as well as providing more options for those – like millennials with roommates – who lack the luxury of a home office. A two or three-day in-office workweek is an idea that has been passed around quite a bit, appealing to younger workers who have been previously city-bound. People now have the opportunity to reduce their commutes to a couple of times a week, allowing them to live more dispersedly. Exploring options that are further out (from their office) that take into account things like more space or better schools.
Shorter work weeks, working from home, and flexible time-off are low in investment but high in return. Small businesses across the country are adopting these new ways of working, due to COVID, and are seeing a reduction in employee churn and a boost in attracting new hires, allowing them to compete with the larger companies.
People are placing more value on time and their ability to physically be there for their families. Sick leave, vacation time and child care assistance are not the only “benefits” people consider when deciding where to work, and “perks” like in-office meals and gyms may not carry nearly as much weight. The job market is competitive, and when companies like Twitter are boldly stating that they will allow employees to work 100% remote “forever”, are you doing what you can to stay ahead of the hiring curve?