How does our ability to work from anywhere impact the future of work? A popular buzzword this year and last, the future of work refers to any trends or ideas that modernize traditional office jobs into a more flexible approach. Most of these new trends are centered around blending work and life outside of work more seamlessly. At this point, we know that some sort of hybrid work model will be the way forward for most businesses, from enterprises to startups, and everything in between, but that’s just on the surface.
In this post, we’ll further explore trends that are popping up like 4-day work weeks and remote teams, and try to understand, are these trends temporary or do they represent a bigger cultural shift in the United States and globally on how we will shape the future of work?
For companies hoping to return to pre-2020 work style, you are wasting valuable time. A software development company, Ivanti, took a survey of their employees and found that 9 out of 10 people, or 87% answered that they do not want to go back to an office full-time. While less than half, 45%, said they would be content never going to an office again, another 42% prefers a hybrid model with time at home and in the office.
What’s more, working remotely has become such an important value to workers that over 70% indicated that they would choose WFH over a promotion or compensation increase. Companies now realize that they must adapt organizational practices around the needs of their talent, or workers will seek other jobs that offer their desired level of flexibility. That’s not to say compensation increases are not welcome, just that the ability to continue working remotely is highly valued.
Restating what we know, it gives people time to care for their families, decreases stress, and actually increases productivity. You’ve seen the studies, so how can companies accept this reality while keeping culture and collaboration intact? One way is by putting people first. Companies can also capture new opportunities and lean into the future of work by using technology that improves both the worker’s experience and business outcomes.
You’ve likely seen headlines referring to the Great Resignation and all it’s meant for the labor force in the US in your news feed. An unprecedented 4.4 million people quit their jobs during September of 2021, and there were 3.6 million more open jobs than people seeking work in October of 2021. Whether you prefer to call it the Great Resignation or the Great Reconsideration, one impact this shift has had is increasing difficulty in hiring for growing teams.
Despite the mass-exodus however, millions of talented people are still seeking work. For companies with expansion goals, and for those growing their careers in technology, the market has ample opportunity. Where the magic really happens is matching job-seekers with the “seek-ees,” and bridging the gap between remote interviews and officially bringing someone on board, wherever they might be located.
As a staffing partner, we recommend a few different approaches that help attract top technical talent to our client’s organizations. Some of the most common benefits are provided healthcare, unlimited or ample PTO, flexible working hours, 401k contribution or match, and tuition or training reimbursement. Other great benefits include stock and equity options, parental leave policies, mentorship programs, employee resource groups, sign-on bonuses, defined career path opportunities, and more recently, even 4/5ths time (reduced working hours with one personal day each week.) Ultimately, when an engineer does accept an offer, some combination of benefits, compensation, and mission alignment create a comprehensive package everyone is happy with. The bottom line is yes, companies can compete with the bigger social swing with the right combination of factors.
One company that has found great success in implementing top-notch benefits, including 4/5ths time, is Velocity Global. A rapidly growing tech company with Denver origins, Velocity Global is taking the bull by the horns so to speak when it comes to new ways of working and implementing flexibility.
If you have not heard of Velocity Global, the company was founded by Denver’s own Ben Wright in 2014. When asked about entering into a partnership with the McCann Worldgroup, Wright noted, "the world of work is changing faster than ever. The pandemic simply accelerated an existing reality that businesses and talent want to choose who they work with, regardless of geography. Our technology launches both talent and businesses into a tangible future of work that both better balances the way we want to work with the way we want to live and helps companies increase productivity."
Through their Global Work Platform, Velocity’s technology simplifies the employer and talent experience to compliantly employ talent anywhere in the world. Using its proprietary cloud-based talent management technology, Velocity boasts an unmatched global scale, as they navigate compliance, benefits, payroll, and immigration to build global teams. This positions the company in a unique way to propel the future of work forward, including Contractor Management services that help onboard and pay contractors in multiple countries so that businesses and talent can focus on getting work done.
At this point in time, more than 1,000 brands rely on Velocity Global to build global teams without the cost or complexity of setting up foreign legal entities or state registrations, and they are the biggest Employer of Record in the world. Their success is an excellent example of how experimenting with new approaches to work can pay off. For some teams within Velocity Global, 4/5ths time has been a blessing and a productivity accelerator, as people come into work more refreshed and energized than before adopting 4/5ths time.
Flexibility and the future of work are two sides of the same coin. How companies offer flexibility comes in many shapes and forms. We’ve already mentioned the rising popularity of the four-day work week; the entire nation of Belgium just approved a four-day work week in a national bill a few weeks ago.
By offering a slightly reduced pay in some cases, companies can offer a 32-hour per week work model, and the final day of the week is left open for personal errands, improvement, travel, or family time. Companies can offer this unique and desirable perk while also hiring a talented employee that fits within their budget. For some, it’s another answer to capturing the attention of senior talent if you can’t pay FAANG level salaries for engineers.
Another staple of the future of work is more mental health and company off days. As we enter into the third year of the pandemic, we know more than ever that burnout and lack of time off leads to higher turnover at organizations that do not prioritize work-life balance for their people. Save your company time and money (and heartache) by implementing mental health or all-company off days, and by encouraging employees to use their PTO. In 2021, American workers left behind 768 million days of unused PTO, more than 27% of what was earned. What this shows is a disconnect between policies and practices, which many organizations struggle with (grind culture runs deep, y’all)… If you feel this may be occurring within your organization, ask yourself, do managers lead by example? Do employees feel comfortable in taking vacation time or personal time off if needed?
The final future of work trend we’ve seen lately is more of a mindset change. Over time and for the most part, our clients have gone from viewing remote work as temporary, to incorporating it into their hiring plans and workflows. No longer are technology teams restricted by location and time zone, and the market has seen an explosion of companies, platforms, and apps enhancing the way we all collaborate and work from home.
If you’ve picked up on a theme of this post, ready or not here it comes, jump on the train… it’s that embracing the future of work is a fluid concept, pushing workers and leaders alike towards new ways of thinking. Some of the above approaches we’ve mentioned are simply manifestations of bigger ideas, experiments to answer the questions of, who do we want to be and how do we want to work moving forward?
Philosophy aside, change is in the air and just around the corner. This reshaping process is ongoing, and we have the chance to mold it together, even if the pendulum swings back towards offices eventually. As digital communication and zoom calls become the norm instead of the “new norm,” we still have to apply more empathy and be open about what works for individuals actively. Whether it’s more time flexibility or having your camera off because you need to that day, digitization and acceleration of remote work should never come at the expense of human communication, and evolving what’s working and what’s not intermittently.
Velocity Global is just one example of a tech company that’s ditching old ways of thinking about centralized teams in favor of helping companies simply get work done, without the red tape. We predict further globalization and diversification of teams, and that we will see more creative ideas stem from reconsiderations on work, life, and their intersection.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!