Working priorities have changed over the last two decades, especially after the rise of social media. Younger generations are harder to retain because they don't consider they need to be in one company for the rest of their lives.
Workers belonging to Gen Y and Z are not easy to tackle in organizations having traditional cultures. These younger generations value motivation at work, prize working with a sense of purpose, and prefer mental peace over everything.
Besides this trend, the internet unlocked many remote and hybrid model positions that have increased the number of job opportunities that workers can access. All these factors have encouraged workers to be more empowered and to take charge of their careers.
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The rise of “Great Resignation” and “quiet quitting”
After the pandemic outbreak, people realized that work was not about money, it was also about purpose and fulfillment. Workers began to sympathize with the idea that work wasn’t their entire life, so they needed to invest in work-life balance.
Soon after this first wave of COVID-19, massive resignations were reported due to this mindset shift. This phenomenon is what we now understand as “great resignation”.
Workers appeared less bothered with that 9 to 5 job that messes up their minds, so people felt ready to quit to improve their work-life balance while working in a setting that made them feel happier.
Also, the work environment was one of the major factors that forced employees to quit their physical jobs, as many employees felt that they worked in toxic environments. By moving towards online jobs, people have felt safer not having to deal with issues related to the work environment.
At last, another workplace trend has emerged: “quiet quitting”. Quiet quitting means performing the bare smallest of one’s jobs and putting in no more time or effort than is necessary. This only means a change in attitude because the employee does not leave their job.
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What has changed in the work ecosystem?
Workers’ priorities after the pandemic have changed. Many professionals started considering that if their productivity was not affected, then there is no reason to return to the office.
Earlier higher salaries, free transportation, and medical insurance were among the top three pinching points for the employees working in any organization. But, now the scenario is different, and the need for transportation has declined because of those workers who are still working from home.
People have realized the importance of personal well-being, and are now feeling comfortable in this virtual world. Big corporations have allowed their employees to work from home because they do not want to lose the engagement of their workforce.
Why have priorities shifted?
In the earlier days of the pandemic, many people started working online, but as time passed, they enjoyed doing it, hence after the end of the lockdown, a significant amount of workers were not comfortable resuming their physical jobs at the office.
One of the main reasons behind this refusal to return to the office was that these employees enjoyed having a good work-life balance. It is also notable how many people had to leave their jobs as their organization was not giving them the liberty to continue working from their homes.
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Another factor that affected this dynamic was inflation. Work priorities changed to a different level when inflation affected the cost of transportation, and the money spent on dining out in offices during lunch breaks, plus buying work clothes, meant more expenses.
To summarize, individuals realized that they have been able to spend more time with their families and can meet deadlines without being time-restricted. One of the dominating factors that employees care about was living a well-being lifestyle that could be sustainable long term.
Freedom, flexibility, and purpose
Benefits such as gym memberships, health insurance, and paid vacations were the most desired grants that workers looked for in a job offer. Now the scenario is different, flexibility and remote work became the new most important priorities for workers.
After the pandemic slump, many professionals realized that flexible working conditions are something they desire and that they aren’t willing to sacrifice.
Also, due to high inflation, the cost of living is a big concern these days, hence people are having a sigh of relief after working from home as they can save costs without any social discomfort.
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Moreover, this new dynamic has driven new strategies to engage and price the workers of an organization, shifting the traditional office greetings for eatables and other gifts through delivery.
The future of work
Focusing on what workers are now looking for and what they value has become a priority for businesses. The pandemic changed how employees work and what they want from their organizations and managers.
Their shifting expectations have made people more willing than ever to leave their jobs in search of roles that better support their changing needs.
It is clear that the pandemic changed the mindset of employees, thus recruiters have to reconsider the package of benefits they are now offering.
The future of work will be filled with more flexible working alternatives that go beyond the traditional working systems. For example, fractional jobs are an option for executives and professionals desiring to work on several projects on a fixed schedule while also having time to invest in their personal lives.