What’s most important to workers in the COVID world?
To no one’s surprise, COVID-19 has impacted people’s career choices and preferences. A recent poll shows 53% are currently looking for a new job that would allow them to avoid offices altogether.
The poll shows most respondents are doubtful that office jobs will return even after the COVID-19 pandemic and that people are looking for new experiences. Not surprisingly, workers are looking for a career that makes them feel valued. While respondents are eager for change, it still takes around 6 months to make major career decisions.
Why Many Workers Are Embracing Contract Work
COVID-19 has accelerated an already-increasing trend. Both contractors and traditionally-employed folks are working more from home. Contract work seems to be especially appealing to young workers who have spent a lifetime consuming quick-moving digital content and don’t want to be bored. Employers have their work cut out for them to keep these expressive, gifted, and demanding people engaged.
Those who love contract work value being able to choose when, how, and where they work. They can pick the jobs that appeal to them. They can decide whether to accept a job or hit the slopes. It has (at least in theory) restored the work / life balance that younger generations feel their parents’ generation lost.
Drawbacks of Contract Work
Brick and mortar offices were already scaling down before COVID-19 and while their prominence in the workforce is decreasing, they still exist. Time will tell whether we still need them. Contract work still has its drawbacks, including less stability and fewer built-in benefits such as 401K matching, paid sick days, paid holidays, and healthcare. Having fewer workers on-site can also pose challenges for businesses because the office environment encourages team morale and facilitates communication, which in turn supports a unified brand identity. Being in one location also allows for in-person meetings. I don’t know anyone who would say Zoom meetings are an adequate substitute for that.
Why Does it Matter?
An evolving workforce means evolving workplaces. Fewer full-time positions and more project-oriented, “we’ll call you when we need you” jobs may fit what young, culturally diverse people coming into the workforce are looking for. Being able to work remotely and without being anchored to a single employer is a major draw for some, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Work that allows workers to explore and thrive is more valuable than ever.
Whether you’re looking for workers or looking for work, the landscape is evolving. Do your part to be ready for it.