• PTP Chicago

The Future of Work in 2021

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

According to a study conducted by Microsoft, over 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employers this year. Considering the expansive ramifications of this exodus, it’s now critical that a new, more thoughtful approach to the working environment is needed to attract and retain talent.

What economists and business leaders have termed as the ‘Great Resignation’ is a post lockdown reality that employers are having to come to terms with where talent is reassessing their priorities. Money had little to do with the choice to leave for an employee. The decision to quit is more often based on their relationship with their employer and the kind of support they received during the pandemic. Workers choose to stay with companies that extended support, invested in their careers and helped them grow in their personal lives while leaving those that only saw them as a number.

Changes in Employee Expectations

After a year and a half of going through various ups and downs, there is a new conversation on when and if employees will be heading back to the workplace. The reasons why employees don’t want to head back to the office are well documented. Working from home, they’ve been as productive, some have found it easier to blend work and life, and the commute has added hours back to their lives. What changed this past year is employee expectations and a growing need to define productivity more broadly. Employees want more opportunities for career advancement, collaboration, and learning while maintaining their physical wellbeing. In addition to these expectations employees also want more flexibility to decide how, when, and where they work.

The Employers’ Response

Rapid transformation at work affects employers and employees equally. Do they expect employees to flock back to offices when it’s safe again? No. The future of work that they envisioned is changing and organizations are adapting. But leadership forecasts have been optimistic. A study conducted by Microsoft also found that 61% of business leaders stated that “they are thriving now”. Additionally, they also reported building stronger relationships with their peers.

However, what changed most for them is their ability to create relationships with their employees while leading remotely. Leaders who persist to and wish to make in-person connections, should be considering few questions— is it the right time for employees to return? Who should return to the workplace? How are the returning employees going to be protected? What steps could leaders take to address the employee's mental and emotional needs?

The disconnect that both employers and workers feel is due to the high productivity that has masked an exhausted workforce. More employers need to address this deepening disconnect on how they envision work in the future.

What Happens Next?

Recent trends show that work is and will no longer be bound to traditional organizational notions about the workplace. Instead, we now have to set aside our long-harbored assumptions and adapt the workplace model to embrace flexibility. The way leaders or companies approach the next phase of work— embracing the positive changes, learning from, and adapting to the challenges, will impact whether prospective employees will join, stay or leave the organization. 2021 is a fresh start. Will employees and employers find a perfect balance to lead them into the future? We will find out.

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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.

Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;

  • Cybersecurity

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Data Science

  • Cloud & DevOps

PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.

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