Over the past months, Covid-19 restrictions pushed remote and hybrid working to the forefront of workforce management trends. Now that life is returning to normal, remote and hybrid work models are here to stay. According to McKinsey’s 2022 American Opportunity Survey of 25,000 Americans, 58 percent of employees are working from home at least one day per week. Those surveyed came from a range of industries, including some traditionally seen as blue-collar.
“The flexible working world was born of a frenzied reaction to a sudden crisis but has remained a desirable job feature for millions. This represents a tectonic shift in where, when, and how Americans want to work and are working,” says McKinsey.
Besides the rise in work-from-home opportunities, here are some other important workforce management trends that are emerging as the new normal.
Digital Tools for Workforce Management
Many businesses are investing in workplace management software and other digital tools that make it easier to manage teams (remote, hybrid, and onsite) in almost any location. The information gathered with these tools supplies insight into attendance, productivity, and other performance factors. Data analytics has been trending for some time among managers and HR professionals. Workforce analytics can help predict labor shortages or surpluses, ensure that skills align with business goals, and enforce regulatory compliance.
Workforce Reporting in Real-Time
Real-time workforce data is critically important for large organizations with employees working from a variety of locations (remote, hybrid, and onsite). Real-time analytics help organizations track how far they are from their strategic goals. The days of manually compiling reports for businesses that use workforce management software are over. Data on attendance and performance can be analyzed and reported on in real time with considerably less effort. Issues can be found and addressed before they become major problems.
Upskilling in the Workplace
The workforce needs to keep up with advances in technology, especially as organizations change to remote and hybrid work models. Workforce data analytics help businesses conduct skills audits and identify missing critical skills. They can then decide if they need to train the workforce or recruit talent to fill the gaps. A trained workforce is more productive and better qualified to pass knowledge and skills to new hires. For many employers, the challenge going forward is ensuring that training opportunities are available and taken advantage of by all employees.
Support for Work-Life Balance
Helping employees achieve work-life balance has become one of the top workforce management trends around the world. Many people who are working from home have a tough time separating work and personal time. This is especially true for women with family responsibilities. Instead of pressuring their teams to work harder, many businesses are actively trying to keep their workforce happy and productive by offering greater flexibility and encouraging open communication. To reduce stress, many employers are giving employees more control over their schedules. They also are encouraging them to stop work at the end of the workday and take breaks and vacation days.
As many people switched jobs or left the workforce during the pandemic, businesses realized they would have to pay more attention to employee happiness and well-being. With Millennials and Gen Z coming into the workforce in greater numbers, companies need to adapt if they want to attract talented new employees. Other future challenges include the increased presence of AI in the workplace. Machine learning, automation, and robotics are expected to have a drastic effect on workflows and human interactions in the workplace of the future.
The good news for employees is that many workforce management trends that have become widespread are part of cultural shifts that will help employees. It’s already been seen that employees who can work part-time or full-time from home are more satisfied with their jobs. Increasingly, companies are recognizing that satisfied employees are more productive and less likely to change jobs.