Research

Global workforce expectations are shifting due to
COVID-19

The results are in: over 2,000 office workers told us their thoughts about the workplace and how their priorities are different now than before the pandemic.

November 17, 2020

In October 2020, JLL analyzed an online survey of 2,033 office workers across 10 countries spanning all major industries. The goal was to understand employee sentiments about how workforce preferences are shifting workplace priorities. The results uncovered a renewed focus on quality of life, human scale and engaging values.

Key insights include: the impact of remote work, an imminent opportunity for employers to sustain and reinvigorate employee engagement, and a growing importance of human connection despite the increase in digitally connected work.

 

A rapid transition toward hybrid work: The crisis is accelerating the transformation of work at an incredible pace 

  • Hybrid work is the new normal and now a preferred way of working
    • 2X: The amount of days worked remotely is expected to double post-crisis, going from 1.2 days pre-pandemic to 2.4 days a week post-pandemic
    • 72% of employees want to continue working from home post-crisis, and a majority want to do so an average of 2 days a week
    • 75% are expecting their employer to support their work at home, and 1 in 3 is asking for a dedicated allowance
  • Work-from-home won’t be the panacea for satisfying all working needs and workstyles — hybrid work will be the answer to providing greater employee workplace choice
    • Some employees do not want to work remotely: 24% of employees want to work exclusively in the office and 50% prefer a hybrid approach — which means that nearly three-quarters want the ability to come into an office
    • JLL’s earlier Human Performance report found that 64% of millennials miss the office, and 80% of high performers have missed their office greatly during lockdown

 

Work-from-home frequency

We asked our respondents how often they worked from home before COVID-19 and how many days a week they would like to work from home in the future. They showed a strong affinity for the office — use the chart below to explore detailed survey results.

 

With COVID-19 compounding workplace stressors, the workforce is emotionally pressured and is asking for more in return

  • Emotional engagement is at risk: employers must be more engaged and care for their workforces
    • About half of employees (53%) have a positive outlook on their current employer
    • 51% expressed concerns about the future and are worried about losing their job
  • The crisis has driven employees to rethink their priorities and given them a renewed focus on quality of life, human interaction and personal values requiring employers to adapt to these evolving needs and demands to attract and retain future talent
    • Work-life balance (72%) has overtaken securing a comfortable salary (69%) in terms of importance post pandemic
    • A conscious, local and healthy lifestyle has become as important as finding a sense of purpose in their work to employees; this is a priority for more than 60% of the workers today
    • Companies that have a clear purpose will be well-positioned to retain talent
  • Work-from-home is enabling fulfillment and empowerment, but employees want more
    • They are requesting more flexible time arrangements and alternative places of work
      • 71% are expecting more flexible schedules, 57% want to have a wider choice in terms of workspaces in the office and 43% would like to be able to work from a co-working facility from time to time
  • The pandemic has driven people to focus on what matters most in their work life: a desire for spaces that create a sense of community
    • Almost half of respondents want both a direct connection to the outdoors (or “green space”) and areas that foster collaboration and engagement with co-workers
    • Interestingly, they also desire new spaces in offices dedicated to focused solo work, so while tomorrow’s offices will need to become great places for collaboration they will also have to accommodate solo working and remote collaboration through isolation spaces and technologies to support meetings with remote colleagues

 

Shifting priorities

We asked our respondents how their priorities changed in light of the current crisis.

 

The hybrid workplace of the future will have to be more human than ever to support employees’ diverse, changing needs and workstyles

  • There is potential for growing connectivity between physical and digital environments
    • Employers must reimagine the dynamic between the physical and virtual workplace to meet employees’ demands
  • A new purpose for the office has emerged: the office is evolving into a destination for collaboration, problem solving and career development
    • In all these areas, the physical workplace can make a huge difference: 70% of respondents are finding that the office environment is more conducive to connecting with teammates to solve complex issues as well as managing direct reports and connecting with leadership
    • Employees indicate that work-from-home has proved to be more efficient for concentration and taking mental breaks

 

The office is the preferred location for some crucial activities

We asked our respondents about their preferred location for specific tasks.

 

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