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Reimaging the Future of Work, by Workers

A dramatic workforce transformation is happening due to COVID-19, with work leaving the building, being categorized in new ways and seeing shifting demand. One thing is certain – this crisis should be a catalyst for a new future of work, that is more flexible, more diverse and more wellbeing-oriented. To find out what has changed, ManpowerGroup asked more than 8,000 people in 8 countries about the future for workers. Here are some of the major changes. 

Shifting demand for work
Increased demand for new roles like contact tracers, distance monitors and temperature checkers are emerging as fast as others decline. This crisis is also accelerating the demand for technical and human skills that we have been tracking and predicting for some time. Acute skills shortages are exacerbating in tech – demand for cybersecurity, software development and data analysts continue unabated. And there is rising demand too for human or power skills - in times of rapid transformation and uncertainty these so-called soft skills are more important than ever in workers and in leaders. 

Increasing pay for essential workers
The undervalued key workers have emerged as the essential heroes serving in hospitals, grocery stores, factories, delivery centers and delivering goods. The rise of social media attention has led to a new category of workers, many better recognized, more widely celebrated and increasingly more supported. Will pay increases follow? France and the UK have committed to long term pay increases for essential workers in healthcare, teaching and law enforcement. Elsewhere policymakers, politicians, trade unions and individuals are calling for greater equity between permanent and temp workers, remote or onsite, non-essential and essential. 

The need to balance work
Workers are seeing more flexibility in their work arrangements in a variety of ways. Offering employees the opportunity to work remote isn’t the only way to enable people to work flexibly and balance work and home. For roles that need to be done in the workplace offer staggered start and finish times, more flexible scheduling, and understand the priorities people have to balance in order to get their work done.

Improved health and safety
Feelings of isolation, stress, fear and anxiety will be a COVID-19 legacy, and so too will be our reflections on the value of health, wellbeing, family and community. Prioritize emotional wellbeing with the same importance as physical and organizational measures like temperature taking and social distancing, to ensure people are confident, healthy and productive.

Months into a pandemic, workers have spoken. Read more in the survey for insight into how  this next normal might eventually be better for everyone: