Over 87% of employees value the opportunity to work remotely. In fact, many people are turning down job opportunities that do not allow for remote work or that put rigid guidelines on attendance. I am certain that the days of roll call in the workplace are gone. We can no longer be attendance-driven, but rather, we must be loudly and boldly outcomes-driven.
Work-life fluidity is not a trend. It is top of mind for employees and leaders. At the end of the day, trust is on the table. Leaders must trust their employees to be productive and efficient regardless of work location, and employers must foster an environment that is purposeful, clear and respectful of the new world of work.
I predict that the future of employee experience will include the following:
1. The office will become a place for purposeful gatherings.
I predict great leaders will focus more on creating community and purpose, especially when gathering in offices or in person.
Lack of flexibility will quickly become a dealbreaker for top performers who want success both in their professional and personal lives. Gone are the days of mandatory commutes and attendance-based evaluations. And good riddance! While some are lamenting the decline in commercial-real-estate office space, the best places to work will be reconfiguring their real estate for purposeful gathering and task-based meetings.
Great companies will train leaders in the value of purpose and community-building when getting teams together. Some employees may choose to visit the office as part of their daily routine, but many will want to come to the office for meetings and gatherings that have a clearly stated and bold purpose. Think quarterly team gatherings, large company events and team-building activities.
2. Top talent will choose to work with kind, empathetic leaders who also fuel high performance.
I predict that a kind, caring and high-performance culture will attract the best of the best.
Make no mistake: The sooner companies embrace this new reality, the faster they will accelerate their success.
Kind, caring and high-performing are not mutually exclusive. It’s the power of the “and!” Think of the best leaders you’ve ever worked with. I bet they cared about you as a person and they inspired and pushed you hard.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
3. With remote work here to stay, the best leaders will be intentional in creating a culture of belonging.
I predict the best leaders will recognize how remote work can be used to enhance belonging in the workplace, and they will be more intentional than ever in creating a safe, inclusive workplace.
Great leaders will make time for a deeper understanding of who their team members are and what they care about, with the goal of listening intently to better understand each person’s story. The best employers will provide leaders with a toolkit that includes approaches for building a sense of community. Fostering two-way communications in a remote world is everything.
4. Shorter workweeks will become more prevalent.
I predict that we will start to see a shift toward the shorter work week in the near future, with this concept being more fully realized and accepted in the next two to three years.
More than 70 companies in Britain recently completed a six-month experiment in which their employees worked four-day workweeks, instead of traditional five-day workweeks. Most of the companies participating in the four-day workweek pilot program said they had seen no loss of productivity during the experiment, and in some cases had seen a significant improvement in productivity.
Let us never lose sight of the race for great talent. Companies with four-day workweeks are seeing surges in applications. This is not because people want to work less, it is because they want to work smarter!
5. More organizations will implement company-wide time off.
I predict that the practice of “mandatory vacations” will continue to grow as organizations see the benefits to productivity and morale that result from such collective resets.
Company-wide days off, also known as recharge days, reset days or well-being days, are now common practice among the best places to work. These days are a way to let everyone rest at the same time without FOMO while sending a clear message to employees that the company cares about employee well-being.
Employers who embrace their people and the new way of working will win—and their people will win in their careers and life. It’s that simple.
The key to getting this right is listening. Companies that embrace change and continue to listen will enjoy happier, healthier, more captivated employees who thrive more fully in both their personal and professional lives.