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Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

Work-life balance, flexibility and mental health are front-of-mind for employees as they look to their employers for certainty about the future, according to a new report.

Companies around the world are reassessing their policies and working arrangements after the COVID-19 pandemic tore up traditional working practices.

Employees are keen to see organizations put a greater emphasis on flexibility, competitive compensation and well-being once the pandemic is over, according to a report from McKinsey & Company. And they expressed some concerns that their wants and needs may not match those of their employers.

The world is facing a “double-disruption” scenario, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2020 report, as automation and the coronavirus redefine work.

Here are four themes that have emerged from studies about the future of work:

1. Work-life balance is key

More than half of employees said they want more flexible, hybrid virtual-working models, where employees are sometimes on-premises and sometimes working remotely, the McKinsey report said.

“A hybrid model can help organizations make the most of talent wherever it resides,” the report notes. At the same time, it can “lower costs and strengthen organizational performance”.

2. Flexibility

Within that hybrid model, most employees want to work from home for three days a week, McKinsey data showed.

And those workers are prepared to jump ship if those conditions aren’t met. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they would consider switching employers if their organization returned to fully on-site work.

3. Clear vision

Having strong, understandable policies and communicating them clearly was also important, with many participants saying a lack of clarity made them feel anxious.

More than a third of respondents 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 health focus

Well-being is crucial for many employees, with more than three-quarters of respondents to a survey from Arizona State University, the World Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation saying employee mental health is now a top priority.

Employers appear to be responding, with more than half reporting an increase in the use of available company resources related to mental health, according to McKinsey.

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

Source: World Economic Forum

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