As we all know that the Covid-19 pandemic forced many knowledge workers to work from home – as many as 700 million people across Europe, many of whom were doing so for the first time. It led to a quick, consistent and very loud employee demand for more flexible forms of work in the future.
But remote and hybrid work isn’t the only things we have been talking about this last couple of years. We have also talked of the ‘great resignation’, or as others call it, ‘the great rethink’. Microsoft research found that employees had a new ‘worth it equation’ when it comes to what they will sacrifice or put up with, in the name of work. More latterly, the idea of ‘quiet quitting’ has made headlines. The idea that employees will do the minimum that they can to keep their roles, refusing to go above or beyond or make discretionary effort.
On the fact of it, they might look like different stories, but they are all different sides of the same coin.
For some time now, I have believed that ‘I want to work from home more’ is surface stuff. Underneath, is ‘I want a different life’. Recent research from Gartner alludes to this too, finding that employees are seeking more purpose and meaning, and in particular rethinking the place that work should have in their lives. ‘I want to work from home’ is part of it but not all of it. As I have said in earlier blog posts, if you are only offering employee’s some location flex, you are not going to be satisfying all their needs. We need to develop new Employee Value Propositions that take into account all of these different elements if we want to attract, engage, and retain in the now of work.
Employees aren’t choosing to quiet quit, resign greatly, start a portfolio career, have a flexcation, work remotely, work flexibly or work abroad.
They are choosing life.