COVID’s Biggest Victim? The Traditional Workplace
Craig Peterson: Work from home is a huge deal, especially for a couple of segments of our society. And I want to talk a little bit about that now, as employees are returning to work, should they be returning to the office?
There is a great article here this last week in Forbes magazine by Dana Brownley. And it was one of their editors’ picks, and Forbes picked it, I think, for excellent reason. And that is so many of us have been working from home. And for many of us, it’s been a godsend.
I’ve worked from home now for over 20 years. And for me, it’s been a godsend because my priority was helping to raise our eight children. And it’s hard to do that, and it’s hard to homeschool them if you are not at home. So that’s what I had done. And I was very privileged to be able to do that.
[00:00:54] And our kids have all turned out amazing. Many people are caregivers, and it isn’t necessarily just kids. But right now, I’m looking at a survey that was conducted. It’s called the Prudential May 2021 pulse of the American worker survey. And they’re showing the 2000 respondents that 38% identified themselves as caregivers, with nearly 40% of those providing care.
[00:01:25] For school-age children, when you are starting to look at benefits packages, many families need to be able to have some form of childcare. And what has snuck in because of the lockdown is that many of us can work from home. So many of us have been more productive at home. And then, on top of it, all we can take.
[00:01:52] Of our family. So let’s look at the stats. We told you about school-age children. That’s about 40%, 32% are taking care of young children. And this is 40% of all workers. Okay. People 30% are caring for someone with a disability, some health issue. And 23% are taking care of older adults.
[00:02:20] That’s 40% of the workforce. That is a lot of people. A lot of people, 38% is the exact number. So there, many of these caregivers are returning. Really a traditional work environment where they’re going to the office, but they have unique needs. And I think every last one of us has to consider that and look at it and figure out how we can make things work.
[00:02:51] And when we look at the numbers again for the caregivers, 45% say that they’ve considered leaving the workforce entirely. Due to personal demands. And 53% are saying that they would retrain for a career in a different field or industry. If they had the opportunity, we have some of our best people out there that are taking care of the kids of our loved ones.
[00:03:21] Our parents. And again, look at mine, a situation here where I was at home helping to take care of our kids along with my wife. Neither one of us could have carried on a regular job and homeschooled eight kids. Neither one of us could have done that. What kind of talent might we be losing? Squeezing these people out of our workforce, particularly when we’ve now proven that most businesses can allow their workers to work from home.
[00:03:57] Now, they found in the survey that there were three primary types of support caregivers, and these types are looking for different types of flexibility. Number one, they’re saying that 42% wanted increased workplace flexibility. No, that makes a whole lot of sense. So they can work from home.
[00:04:20]Maybe some of your best employees or people who want to work in another part of the country. I have a friend; his brother-in-law is a real good programmer in this one particular type of programming. I think it’s sales and he is living there now in a completely different country on the other side of the world.
[00:04:42] And yet. He’s still doing programming for these people here in the United States, talking about workplace flexibility. He is sitting over there not far from China and is enjoying himself. He loves it there. And of course, his costs are much lower, et cetera, et cetera. So consider that, not just that there might be working from home, but maybe they want to take the kids over to Europe, live there for six weeks.
[00:05:10] There’s a lot of things people want. So that’s 42% of our people that are working. Okay. Increased workplace place. Flexibility. The number two increased paid time off by 38%. Again, something we got to consider seriously. Now I know how hard it is to be able to fill in for someone that’s on vacation or. Maybe they’re caring for a loved one.
[00:05:38] Maybe they just had a baby, et cetera, but it’s essential when you get right down to it. Because again, who’s better for raising our children, us, or a stranger who’s going to more or less warehouse them. You have to keep a look at that. There’s a great article from the Harvard business school.
[00:05:59] It’s titled. COVID killed the traditional workplace. What should companies do now? That’s an excellent question because now the lockdown is mostly behind us. Executives can’t expect the offices to run the same way they did to come in and do the same things they always did. But in reality, Harvard business school faculty members are saying there are ways to keep our employees happy and productive.
[00:06:32] And that is exactly what we’re talking about. But, no, for many caretaker takers caregivers, I should say paid time off is more valuable than a pay increase. And that’s particularly true for those who are at the higher end of the pay scale. It gives them a lot more flexibility. They can get away sometimes from all of their responsibilities and obligations, which is just so important.
[00:06:57] There’s here’s another one. This is a job list survey from CNBC. The article entitled here’s how much money workers would give up for better. Life balance. And they go in, in that particular article and say that the average worker who says they currently have work-life balance, it would take an extra $10,000 in pay per year for them to give up their personal time.
[00:07:20] I’m not sure that’s right. I think it would be a lot more than that. And it also says just 30% of workers said they’d give up part of their pay for a better work-life balance. And the threshold varies by the type of worker. So that’s where we, I think, really get into it now. So those are the first two, the third one is 37%.
[00:07:41] So these are all within 4% of each other—a greater commitment to health and wellbeing. Now I’ve seen studies before saying businesses that put in a gym and put in workout rooms, et cetera. They never actually see them use—the way they expect for them to be used. And I don’t think that’s what people are talking about here, but we really are thinking a lot more about health and wellbeing since so many of us have been scared because of the COVID outbreak, but maybe I should be paying more attention to our health.
[00:08:17]But we also have the mental health look at all of the problems we’ve seen from so many mental health issues because of the. Down. So Harvard again came out and said for employers that we need to signal the health of facilities. It’s crucial to attracting people back. So again, The right kinds of air filters, right?
[00:08:39] Kinds of lighting, make sure people feel safe while they’re in the office and maybe cut back the number of days they have to be there. Hey, stick around. We’ll be right back. We got a lot more to cover. You’re listening to Craig Peterson, of course, and visit me online. Craig peterson.com.