Navigating The Post-COVID Job Market And The Shift To Remote Work

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Dec 2, 2020

Dec 2, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the job market. A second wave of COVID has caused many states to tighten restrictions once again, causing greater unemployment challenges in November. For instance, unemployment claims in Michigan, one of the most affected states, has nearly doubled as state orders caused businesses to close once again.

According to Detroit Free Press, “Employees of businesses such as restaurants, which had to discontinue indoor dining, as well as close casinos, movie theaters and bowling alleys, among others, were possibly furloughed or laid off until the restrictions are lifted.”

Increased restrictions due to increased COVID cases is happening across the U.S., leaving the job market in question. The current unemployment rate is hovering around 6.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving approximately 11 million Americans out of work.

Will this last? The future of the job market is a bit unpredictable as we head into 2021. However, COVID vaccines and public safety measures may eventually turn the job market around next year. Will the American workforce be ready to return to the traditional workforce model?

Jobs May Be Different For Many Years To Come

American workers that were not laid off or furloughed entered into the remote workforce. This has become the norm, and for many employees, changed the way they felt about the balance between professional and personal life.

Returning to the office may prove difficult for many Americans, especially those who have come to enjoy the work from home lifestyle. A work from home survey conducted by Zapier found that 80 percent of remote workers can manage time better.

The survey also uncovered these remote work statistics:

  • 71 percent feel that remote work is less stressful
  • 42 percent miss socializing with coworkers
  • 29 percent said non-essential meetings are now reduced to emails
  • 27 percent noted that they are working more hours

Interestingly, nearly the same percentage of workers feel that they are more productive, yet they want to return to the office. Another remote work study by IBM found that 54 percent of remote workers want to work from home post-COVID, and 75 percent want to work from home occasionally.

There May Be Less Enthusiasm To Return To The Office

The data for returning to the office, or not, seems split based on recent studies. And the reasons for returning to the office, or staying working from home, vary by employee. Employees who prefer the structure of office work may be far more inclined to get back to the cubicles. 

American workers who prefer the freedom of remote work, may not be ready to get back to the traditional office model. Personal factors weigh these decisions. And let’s not forget that the grass is often greener on the other side.

Employees who are all about returning to the office may quickly decide that remote work was ideal. This leaves companies to make shifts in company culture, because many businesses will keep remote work in place like Twitter, Shopify, and Facebook. 

Businesses that fail to meet expectations of employees working in-office may lose top talent to remote forever companies.

Company Culture Will Need To Shift To Keep Employees

The post-COVID job market will most likely be in-office more than work from home. When this happens, companies will need to examine company culture, and make shifts in the workplace to ensure employees stick around.

Part of this shift will need to emphasize employee recognition. Employees want to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Having a few employee recognition awards ideas in place can prove beneficial for employee retention post-COVID.

Remote work will also be on the table. Companies that make occasional work from home an option can ensure employees will not be searching for work from home jobs, or jobs with remote work options.

The workplace may also need to be revamped to keep employee enthusiasm high in a post-COVID in-office environment. Free lunches, more flexible work schedules, and professional development training and events should all be considered.

Company culture will certainly play a role in a post-COVID workforce. Keeping your top talent and finding highly skilled candidates should be the primary focus. A culture that caters to post-COVID needs can help companies achieve this.

Are You Ready For The Post-Covid Job Market?

From employee to company, getting ready for the post-COVID job market now can help your company rebound, grow, and maintain success in years to come. Shifts in company culture will need to be considered by companies large and small. Employees will ultimately lead the charge as we enter an unknown job market.