Three years into the pandemic, businesses are dealing with a multitude of crises and are trying to remain productive and profitable. Hybrid work practices remain complex and both business leaders and employees are grappling to understand how to adjust business practices to meet the needs of employees.
Workplace of the Future
EPOS, the global audio and video brand, in partnership with Foresight Factory, has today published ‘The Workplace of the Future’ report to explore the current and emerging trends shaping the future of work, as well as the technology solutions that can help businesses to navigate a long-term hybrid strategy for a productive workforce. Key findings include:
Employees are prioritizing their well-being: Workers everywhere are taking agency of their well-being, both physical and mental, and over half of the workers around the world (53%) say they are more likely to prioritize their well-being compared with life before the pandemic. As a result, workers increasingly expect their employers to form part of their health ecosystems with 38% of employees calling for their employers to support staff by allowing them time off for mental health needs. A further 30% of employees say they want to see businesses dedicating hours for employees to use for mental/physical well-being pursuits.
Avoiding burnout and pursuing happiness are top drivers: Employee burnout is a persistent issue and 36% of global workers say they have suffered burnout in the last 12 months from ‘working too hard’, a feeling that is greatest among Gen Z (40%) and Millennials (42%). As the disconnect around remote working continues to grow between employers and employees, so does the discontent. Less than half of workers are happy with their current work and life balance (43%), and almost a third (30%) say they intend to change careers to improve their overall happiness.
Access to a physical office is vital: Employees want to avoid feeling isolated and want to see businesses offering both physical and virtual opportunities for connection and collaboration. Half of the employees say they miss spending time with colleagues in person now they can work remotely. This trend is highest among Gen Z and Millennials (80%) who are keen to use physical office spaces to learn, grow, and establish themselves in their workplace community.
Employees will leave if they’re not learning: The working landscape is becoming more demanding of employees, who are expected to upgrade existing skills or pick up new ones rapidly. Workers everywhere have embraced new opportunities for development and learning over the pandemic years. Now, 60% of employees of all ages are keen to continue learning, and 44% say they want to progress and upskill within their current job. If they can’t learn and grow within a role, they will leave to achieve their career goals.
Sub-par tech solutions can lead to cognitive overload: Employers also need to be intentional about equipping employees with solutions that reduce the risk of cognitive fatigue. EPOS research has shown that in noisy environments the brain works harder to focus on the most important source of sound with this taking 35% more cognitive effort to listen. Over time this can lead to cognitive overload and brain fatigue, impacting employee stress levels, information retention, and performance.
Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, President at EPOS says, “The world of work has never been as complex as it is today. Business leaders who invest in their company’s and employees’ future need to think intentionally about their hybrid strategies. There is no one size fits all approach. Though we have, in recent years, see how technology has revolutionized modern work it is no substitute for leadership and culture. Leaders today face a new set of challenges and must put their people at the heart of creating a workplace community that keeps employees engaged in the long-term.”
Marta Vilella, Client Partner at Foresight Factory says, “Each business requires a unique and tailored plan that considers all aspects of business operations, people, and culture. Business leaders need to tune into the issues, challenges, and interests that most concern their employees and make any necessary changes in order to thrive as a team.”
On behalf of EPOS, and to complement the trends data, Foresight Factory engaged with various leading businesses to understand their perspectives and observations of the current market. These authentic and first-hand experiences shed further light on the most pressing topics at the forefront of hybrid discussions and reaffirm that with so many changing factors that risk an employee’s loyalty, businesses need to intentionally align their policies to reflect the future of their workplace.