A shift in perspective – the employee focus

With the the world opening up and a return to traditional workplaces on the cards, a shift in perspective to focus on employee well-being is a key topic for employers to address. Many employees have embraced working remotely and are looking for a for a shift away from the 9-5 pre-COVID model.

A report by PwC which surveyed 1800 Australian workers between September 20 and October 1, 2021 found that almost 40% want to switch employers for better conditions and higher wages.

Clearly, the path forward will require a shift in perspective – a focus on the employee. According to another report by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees see better conditions as:

  1. Work-life balance

More than half of employees surveyed by the McKinsey report wanted flexible, hybrid virtual-working models. The report highlighted the benefits of the hybrid model including access to skills despite employee’s geographical location, potentially lower costs while maintaining performance.

2. Flexibility

Within the hybrid model, most employees want to work from home for three days a week, with the same workers indicating they would resign if this option isn’t available. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they would consider switching employers if their organisation required them to work onsite full-time.

3. Clarity and communication

More than a third of respondents in the McKinsey report ranked clear hours and expectations for collaboration in their top-five policies. Collaboration tools and reimbursement for remote-work office set-ups were also strongly rated.

4. Mental well-being

Anxiety is known to decrease work performance, reduce job satisfaction, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues, among other ills. For the global economy, the loss of productivity because of poor mental health – including anxiety – might be as high as $1 trillion per year.

McKinsey report.

When it comes to Australian workers, the PwC report indicated some 85% of workers reported mental health challenges over the last 18 months, with stress from the pandemic, job security, increased loneliness and isolation as contributing factors.

Employees are looking for employers who provide services and support for their mental well-being. If employers can shift their focus to the well-being of the employee, it will help the organisation attract and retain talent.