For cities, businesses, employees, and families, the pandemic brought on multiple challenges over the past year. And, as vaccinations continue to occur throughout the country, the slow transition out of the pandemic is giving rise to discourse about how the workplace needs to change.
We’ll take a look at this difficult post-pandemic transition process from the perspective of four entities:
- Cities are looking to recover and jumpstart their economies.
- Businesses trying to recover from 2020 while addressing employee morale.
- Employees contemplating the move from remote set-ups and deciding whether it’s now time to make a career change.
- And families juggling the best way to go about childcare as parents also move back to the workplace.
With the hope of possibility that comes with the country slowing opening up again, come the realities of difficult post-pandemic discussions and life or business decisions.
For many people, the pandemic provided an opportunity to work remotely full-time. For those looking to stay remote, the options are growing for what their remote office can look like coming out of the pandemic.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, has instilled remote work incentives to jump-start their economy and also bring in more workers and families. The city is offering a $10,000 award for relocating and a housing stipend of $1,000.
Another city, Chattanooga, Tennessee is looking to grow its population with more tech professionals. Chattanooga’s tech sector, which has been thriving in recent years, adopted the nickname “Gig City” and has the fastest community-wide internet speed in the entire country.
Chattanooga’s incentives for remote workers are part of their GeekMove program and they’re offering computer developers $1,250 for relocation expenses and up to $10,000 in the form of a mortgage.
Recent college graduates are also struggling to navigate in a pandemic-induced recession and anxiety from student loans while also trying to find a career is something that hasn’t gone completely unnoticed by some cities. Hamilton, Ohio is helping STEAM graduates from the past seven years with up to a $10,000 incentive to relocate.
The 1889 Oklahoma land rush saw almost 60,000 settlers try to claim free land in the Oklahoma Territory. Over one hundred years later, Lincoln, Kansas is offering free land to new homebuilders. The Free Home Site Program is giving away 12,000 to 35,000 square feet lots to new residents.
And so with cities trying to lure workers and families, businesses are attempting to keep employees happy through this tough, post-pandemic transition period.
Big and small businesses are dealing with the same issues of addressing employee morale as workers move back into the office, find the right set-up they want to work in, or even contemplate switching companies or careers.
On one hand, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced to employees that the theme of Google’s post-pandemic work culture would focus on flexibility: “The future of work at Google is flexibility. The majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time, yet many would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days a week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently.”
Microsoft is also offering flexibility to its 160,000 employees across the globe as each employee will have the option to work from home part-time.
This move to the hybrid work environment, at least in the meantime, is something many company leaders are offering their employees as a recent Gartner survey found that 80% of company leaders plan to permit a remote work option even after the pandemic.
As 2020 and the pandemic went on, many workers found the remote environment an opportunity to not only stay safe, but also spend more time with family and less time commuting.
However, not every company is the following the flexibility mantra, as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, for example, both plan to have every employee back in the office by the end of the year. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon went on to say remote work is an aberration for the company and not a new normal.
So, some employees are hearing the options that are possible not only with their work schedule, but also their career and are taking part in some country-wide introspection.
Employees & Families Post-Pandemic
Even as the pandemic becomes more controlled and the country begins to reopen, the reality is the effects of the pandemic are hurdles that have been placed in front of many Americans. The elongated bouts of isolation or trauma have been everyone from COVID survivors and healthcare workers to the average American worker and even children.
COVID-19 anxiety syndrome is something scientists are keeping an eye as the world reopens. This syndrome in particular is meant to be an umbrella term for mental health conditions and symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These mental health conditions may cause workers to be hesitant about returning to the workplace even if the danger or threat has subsided.
In addition, the Red Cross suggests disasters can bring on an influx of mental health conditions and any catastrophic event that causes societal, human, material, economic, or environmental losses can be labeled as a disaster. For many Americans, monetary and societal losses saw an influx during the pandemic.
And, with this growing post-pandemic unease, many workers and families have begun to reassess their careers and future. Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey found that 26% of workers plan to leave their job after the pandemic. While 80% of those workers are doing so because they’re concerned about their career advancement. 72% of workers said the pandemic made them rethink their skillset and what their capabilities are. Another survey by Microsoft found more than 40% of global workers were considering leaving their job in 2021.
Coming out of the pandemic to the same 9-5 routine scares some Americans and the extra time gained from remote environments maybe even lead to some workers honing other skills and talents. As the saying goes, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something and the pandemic brought on many extra hours in the week for some.
The New York Times recently covered this feeling of needing to make a career change among older millennials. A former Daily Beast reporter, Olivia Messer, quit her job in February after feeling drained and said, “I have this renewed creative sense about what my life could look like, and how fulfilling it can be.” Messer has begun to focus on freelance writing and more hobbies.
Lastly, the latest jobs report didn’t see the growth economy experts expected, and one of the factors was the reluctance of two-parent households. Meaning in scenarios where both parents normally are working, some couples have decided to keep one adult home to handle childcare as not every child is back to a normal school day, and another summer of restricted daycare and camps is on the way.
One solution, particularly for those families who are able to do so, has been moving into multigenerational households where grandparents or retired parents can assist with childcare. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), purchases of multigenerational homes increased 15% between April and June of last year. The NAR has been tracking these purchases since 2012 and currently this is the highest percentage of multigenerational homes in America in this span.
Working in the Post-Pandemic Landscape
For cities and businesses, the post-pandemic theme has become offering flexibility and choices. While for the worker and families across the country who are in a position to do so, the pandemic has led to a time where wanting flexibility and choice can be acknowledged and achieved. As Harvard Business School lecturer Christina Wallace recently said, “We’ve all had a year to evaluate if the life we’re living is the one we want to be living.”
Are you looking for a career move? If so, eNamix would love to talk with you! Contact us today at enamix.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation with one of our senior account managers.