May’s Workhuman® Live marks two years since Workhuman’s last in-person conference. To say work has “changed” in that time feels inadequate. It has time traveled, propelled into the future by the need for remote work and the demands for more just and compassionate workplaces.
Hybrid work and employee well-being, in its variety of forms, are the two changes in the last two years that will define the next era of work. Here’s a preview of how these themes will take centerstage in Atlanta at Workhuman Live.
For many employees, hybrid work was a fringe benefit two years ago. In a handful of industries, it is now the primary way of working. The workforce, scattered on a dime, has largely handled the growing pains of shifting to a more virtual working experience. And it’s primed to remain a popular way of working for years to come.
Employees have experienced the flexibility hybrid offers and do not want to relinquish it. Most employers have not seen dips in productivity. And the next generation is watching their parents work from home and growing acclimated to a more virtual world themselves.
But there is still room for improvement. Remote workers are the least overworked, but are less likely feel connected to their colleagues and their organization, leaving them more uneasy about changes that happen. Hybrid work has offered more balance, but hybrid workers feel the most overworked and most obligated to work while sick.
The challenge for organizational and HR leaders will be continuing to meet and connect with employees no matter their mode of work. And it’s a challenge that will be discussed at length as part of the "Exploring the Next Horizon of People Practices" track at Workhuman Live.
In addition to forcing remote work, the pandemic ripped away the veil covering the one of the worst-kept secrets in the workplace: burnout. Employees are stressed, but employers learned the depth of that stress. They learned the cause of stress is not the same for everyone. And they began to learn how and why it is acutely felt by women, people of color, and parents.
The stress is not new, everyone is just talking about it now. The roots of that stress – overwork, racial bias, and a general lack of psychological safety in many workplaces – have been widely exposed. There’s no excuse to be unaware as an organization. And after two years of pledges and planning, there’s no excuse for inaction either.
Companies should be striving to create an environment where all employees feel comfortable to be themselves, take risks, and make mistakes. They should ensure their hiring practices and development opportunities are equitable. And as hinted at before, they should continue to extend flexibility to parents and other workers who have personal demands to meet.
Building a more human-centered culture at your organization will be the focus of the “Turning Insight into Action” track at Workhuman Live. Hear from experts, leaders, authors, and activists as they explore these topics and how they will shape the future of work at May 16-19 in Atlanta.
About the AuthorMore Content by Mike Lovett