Has Work Changed Forever – and is it For Good?


Gregg Bedol - February 23, 2021

Has Work Changed Forever – and is it For Good?

Has Work Changed Forever – and is it For Good?

I have been inundated over the last few weeks with surveys, analyses, press releases and general conversation focused on the concept of “Employee Experience”. Everyone seems to be saying a form of the same things:

The pandemic has changed the workplace forever

  1. Remote work is here to stay

  2. Building and maintaining relationships is a challenge

  3. The work force, particularly “the young’uns” (of which I am not), are incredibly stressed (Seriously, mental health is a problem)

  4. Employee loyalty was at a low point prior to the pandemic – and it’s going lower

  5. The right package of compensation and benefits needs to include, not just the historically common components, but also those focused on employee wellbeing

  6. “Wellbeing” is defined broadly: Not only does it embrace traditional health, trauma, and related benefits, but can also mean physical, financial, and professional development support

  7. Employees want to be valued, heard, respected – and they insist that their employers support their personal professional development

“Common” Sense

I’ll include references to several of the documents I’ve seen recently at the end of this blog. (This is not intended to be an academic treatise, rather to provide a few insights from responsible others who are making these statements that may be helpful.)

Are the references really necessary? I’m not sure anything people are saying right now isn’t just common sense. People want to be seen, people want to be valued, people want to be supported. We’ve witnessed (or, more accurately, participated in) a fifty-year swing where the employer has moved from being a supportive, maternal, long-term home to a transactional, finance-driven (thank you, Milton Friedman, 1970), temporary shelter. Now, I’ll assert, we’re starting the swing back in the other direction.

What does that mean for the employer of today, especially now that we have been suddenly and unexpectedly changed overnight by this unpredicted (at least, at this moment in time) pandemic? Again, there seems to be a consensus emerging:

  1. Helping current employees adjust to the unexpected changes requires direct and real action

  2. Recruiting and retaining employees, and avoiding the very expensive curse of turnover, means that employers will need to differentiate themselves from others

  3. An important differentiator is developmental support: Helping each individual employee become the best they can be, and that’s defined independently from the technical skills required for any one specific job

  4. Recognizing that support is not a point in time but an ongoing process.

Yes, the working world has changed, and probably forever. The answer to the question, “Has it changed for good?”, is up to us.




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