Employers face workplace transformation

July 19, 2021 — EMPLOYEES expect flexibility in their jobs coming out of the pandemic and will decide whether to remain in a role based on whether or not they get it, new research from professional services firm EY suggests.

Its ‘EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey’ report says 93% of respondents to an international poll said they will likely stay with their organization for the next 12 months or more if they have control over where and when they work.

On the other hand, 54% said they would leave their company if their current level of flexibility in schedule and working location is not extended post-pandemic.

Control over hours was the most important factor for most respondents, with 67% preferring to control when and where they work rather than having an assigned office with top-notch, on-site amenities.

“Whether you know — and accept — it or not, your employees have been forever transformed, and walking back this sea of change isn’t an option,” said Darryl Wright, partner, people advisory services at EY Canada.

“Employees have embraced the flexibility that tech-enabled remote working has made possible.

“And they don’t expect it to stop in the aftermath of the pandemic,” he said. “This is a critical moment for collaboration among all senior executives — from the (chief human resources officer) and (chief technology officer) to the CEO — to re-imagine a model that supports both a safe transition and physical transformation to the workplace.”

EY notes in its report that the rapid shift to work from home when the pandemic first hit required companies to accelerate their technological adaptation.

While organizations used technology to render processes and workflows virtual,  employees creatively repurposed or deployed new technologies to recreate human connection points that previously happened in-person, the report says.

It says companies will need to assess which of the tools that have been adopted actually add value and to look for opportunities for improvement as they decide which to continue using.

“Workforce and technology leaders should work together to assess how new tech is changing their organization’s workflow, team dynamics and productivity,’ said Dan Higgins, EY global technology consulting leader.

“They will likely uncover some surprising findings which will impact retention, employee experience and how technology can enable new and enhanced models.”

The report says employers that were skeptical about the productivity impact of tech- enabled remote work have discovered that productivity has remained high after a full year of working from home.

Of the employees surveyed, 66% said they believe their productivity can be accurately measured irrespective of where they work, and 65% said they felt that remote work allows their organization to be more productive.

As employees have found that their work can be completed regardless of location, they now want employers to provide them with more technology and tools to improve their remote work experience, the report says.

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