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The Future of Work – Employer/Employee Compromise Will be Key

September 15, 2021

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

A new report from Arizent, The Future of Work: Employers, Employees, and the Long Road to Compromise, reveals that employers and employees don’t agree on what the new normal looks like.  To move forward, each side will have to compromise.

Some highlights of the report include:

WFH forever? Employees say yes.

  • Just one-third of employers across industries expect to have employees splitting their time between work and home one year from now.
  • 45% of organizations have no plans to reduce the size of their office. Just 1% reported that they plan to eliminate their office footprint entirely.
  • 62% of employee respondents said they would like to work from home the majority of the time if their employer would allow it.

Employees need mental health support — will employers be the ones to offer it?

  • Data from the CDC reports that between August, 2020, and February, 2021, 41.5% of adults had symptoms of anxiety or depression. Employees have also struggled with high rates of burnout, increased substance use, and more frequent thoughts of suicide.
  • Advancements in telehealth have improved access to mental health support, yet just 22% of employers plan to make permanent changes to these benefits post-pandemic.

Is the right technology in place?

  • While technology has played a critical role in ensuring the success of remote work, employers have struggled with challenges like security breaches and accessibility to high-speed internet.
  • Employees, however, have embraced workplace technologies and feel they have the tools to succeed.

Are employers permanently changing their benefit offerings?

  • While 70% of employers agree that the pandemic has highlighted how important benefits are to their workforce, just 10-30% expect those changes to be permanent long-term.
  • Only 19% will permanently alter their EAP assistance for mental health and counseling.
  • 22% will make permanent changes to employee sick leave policies.
  • 29% will continue to enhance telemedicine offerings.
  • Just 10% plan to enhance or continue disability coverage.

Are companies supporting working parents?

  • 69% of respondents do not believe their organization has been impacted by women leaving the workforce, and a very small percentage of respondents are offering benefits that support working parents and provide a safety net for them now and in the months ahead.
  • 44% are not changing their policies for working parents.
  • 16% are giving working parents a leave of absence or additional PTO.
  • A mere 8% will offer a plan for back-up childcare.

Employers will need to prioritize the needs and demands of their employees when creating a plan for office reopening. Employees have strong opinions about continuing to work from home and are willing to leave an organization in order to find their preferred balance.  But with the right tactics and ongoing conversations with employees, employers can expect to retain their workforce — and succeed.

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