As millions of American workers return to the workplace, more than half (54%) say they prefer a flexible work arrangement that allows them to work both on-site and remotely beyond the pandemic, according to a new Randstad US survey. Workers prefer flexibility even though roughly a quarter start work earlier and work later into the evening while working from home. The findings suggest that flexibility and other workplace benefits will continue to be a top priority for workers moving forward as they report lingering concerns about safety and express strong opinions about the future of work.
These preferences were clearly cited by the nearly one-in-five workers who changed jobs during the pandemic. While 42 percent of workers that changed jobs cited compensation as the primary reason for their switch, many also considered benefits (30%), the opportunity to work remotely (23%) and workplace culture (23%) as key motivating factors.
The findings are reported in the Next Normal omnibus survey conducted by Randstad US to take a snapshot of the unique moment in the American labor market and get the perspective of workers on their professional lives, changes to it over the last year, and their expectations for what will come next.
“American workers experienced a turbulent year that has forever changed their expectations for employers around benefits and workplace safety,” said Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America and Randstad N.V. executive board member. “Benefits are one of the most important ways companies can attract and retain top talent, so now is the time for employers to review their offerings to ensure they meet market expectations.”
Next Normal found that 41 percent of employers began offering new health and wellness benefits during the pandemic, with those benefits spread evenly across several new programs. Seventy-two percent of respondents also reported that their employer implemented new health and safety policies, with workers considering a mask mandate (89%), social distancing (63%), temperature checks (44%), and sanitizing stations (39%) most important.
Overall, a majority (77%) of workers are ready to return to the workplace on at least a temporary basis, even as 74 percent wanted employers to implement stricter, clearer safety protocols for on-site work.
The survey findings come shortly after Randstad conducted its bi-annual global Workmonitor analysis, which found a similar emphasis on benefits and perks from workers. In that survey, 23 percent of American workers would like to see their employers implement regular surveys on their wellbeing, 22 percent want to see new policies to maintain a proper work-life balance, 20 percent would like new skills training for technology, and 16 percent would like financial assistance for childcare.