Salesforce has published its first Global Stakeholder Series: Future of Work, Now research study – a data-driven look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping people’s attitudes about current work environments and their perceptions on the future of work.
People are expecting positive long-term change from their employers, and the data from this research provides insights into why organizations need to reimagine every aspect of their operations to move their business forward and positively impact society.
“Change is hard because change is human,” said Brian Solis, Vice President – Global Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce. “Now more than ever, we must empower people to become more adaptive, more open to collaboration, and more open to doing new things. Soft skills are increasingly in-demand and we can use technology to expedite meaningful change.”
Key insights from the research include:
Working from anywhere is the new norm, but more access to technology is needed
In a world where coming into the office as large teams is restricted and limited, companies and their employees have transformed the “traditional workplace” and have adapted to new working environments. The focus has shifted to digital-first engagements and experiences, while remote working has become commonplace across the globe. 60% of respondents expect working from home to become the new norm.
Technology is critical for companies to continue keeping employees safe and businesses running smoothly. Over one third of non-remote workers globally say they do not have the technology to effectively work from anywhere. Non-remote workers are those who’ve either never worked remotely or who’ve already returned to the workplace under special conditions.
Employees know they need to adapt, expect companies to prioritize support in reskilling
As new ways of working become the new norm for the near-term future, employee focus is now shifting to personal development. In fact, 65% of employees believe that workforce development must be a high priority for businesses, and 70% say technology should play a major role within it.
This year has highlighted that planning can be difficult. Many businesses and employees are experiencing economic hardship, and uncertainty persists around job security. For this reason, workers have a renewed focus on reskilling. Half of respondents (50%) say they are more interested in online learning/training since COVID-19. The value of new skills is also becoming more commonplace in the eyes of employees, with 95% of respondents saying adaptability and 93% saying collaboration will be important skills over the next six months.
Employee safety and well-being are paramount
The effects of multiple ongoing crises – health, financial, and social – are taking their toll on employees. They have concerns around access to jobs, access to healthcare, racial inequality and worries about the environment. Increasingly, people believe that businesses should help move the needle on critical societal issues. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that businesses should make closing the gap on global inequalities a priority.
Technology has the potential to help employees stay healthy and keep an individual’s well-being top of mind. In the current pandemic, around four in five respondents (79%) believe that workplace safety should be a high priority for businesses.
Businesses have the power to be a platform for change
Societal issues like racial injustice, income inequality and climate change were at the forefront prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to affect communities globally. However, as businesses get back on their feet, leaders are expected to do things differently to make long-term progress on these societal challenges. Sixty percent of respondents trust businesses to build a better future for younger generations, and are counting on them to do so, while half (52%) say it’s critical their employer gives back to the community. Value-driven businesses will be poised to not only survive, but thrive after the pandemic.