A new report, Future of Work Life, from Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab examines how employees and employers navigate the current work environment and their views on the future of work shaped by the pandemic, digitalization and the fluctuating labor market.
The way people spend their work hours has been the same for a long time, but the pandemic was a major disruptor of this. Work has changed and will continue to change going forward.
48% of the employees in the study say that they enjoy increased flexibility at work. 52% consider flexible work hours or locations as key requirements, and 25% say that flexibility is the top priority if they would start to look for a new job. Doing work rather than going to work is seen as central in this new way of thinking about work life.
According to Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab, Jasmeet Singh Sethi: “Amidst the rapid digitalization brought on by the pandemic, our research highlights a concerning gap between the technology available in the workplace and the needs of employees for flexible working. With 6 in 10 companies lacking relevant technology for their staff, and just 2 in 10 employees feeling they have relevant tools at workplace there is a pressing need for organizations to invest in digital tools and robust connectivity that enable remote collaboration and flexibility, not only to attract and retain top talent, but also to stay competitive in the post-pandemic world.”
Employers need to embrace digitalisation and flexible workforce management, and this can be done by creating a workplace of the future that supports human collaboration, simplifies work and values employee input in decision making.
“Based on our research, it is quite clear that the future of work is going to be increasingly dependent on ICT solutions such as high-speed, globally available mobile connectivity. We felt the pandemic could finally be seen in the rear-view mirror, and therefore wanted to take a closer look at what changes in peoples worklife had stuck, and what was only a temporary adjustment! My own favourite take-away is that remote work is clearly here to stay – maybe not exactly at the level as was measured during the pandemic, but still at significantly higher levels than before the pandemic!” – Head of Ericsson IndustryLab Anders Erlandsson.
Key findings of the research include:
• Flexibility is the new work life currency. Employees predict flexibility as a future employment need as hybrid work continues to be the norm as 25% of the global working population say they will prioritize flexibility above all else.
• Digital technologies renew employee confidence. Using the right digital technologies boost twice as much positive feelings for employees without increasing stress.
• Decision-makers and employees are increasingly at odds over technology. Only 33% of employers consider employee preferences when investing in new technology as 4 out 10 employees struggle with non-relevant tools for their tasks.
• Flexible workplaces may come at the cost of increased surveillance. Balancing visibility and privacy is a challenge and concern for hybrid work. 65% of employees who are optimistic about technologically-enabled flexibility also believe it will be tied to an increase in monitoring.
• Globalized labor markets bring talent and concerns to employers. Decision makers in emerging markets agree loyalty is declining with the rise of remote jobs.
• Five employee paths shape the future of work. Employees prioritize flexibility (24 %) digitalisation (20 %), project-based work (12 %), or career (19 %) and financial stability (25%).
The research was carried out during 2022 within 30 markets globally; 38,000 online surveys of employees plus 3,600 online surveys of decision-makers and 11 in-depth interviews with decision-makers from selected industries within three markets; China, Spain and US.