Regional Insights from North America, May 2021
This month we hear from Kea’s Global Director, Government & Industry, Saya Wahrlich, who discusses the trends she’s seeing in the US.
One of the hot topics of conversation and cause of much debate in service and tech businesses across North America is what to do about the work-from-home phenomenon post-pandemic. Spearheaded by tech companies like Google, many businesses are now reversing or considering reversing previous policies about flexible working. This has been a result of more data coming to light about the balance between the productivity of working from home, the innovation that comes from face-to-face interaction and the disparity between roles that can and cannot be done remotely.
Mothers’ Day this month sparked articles about the particular challenge for working mothers and just how many say they are considering downshifting their careers or dropping out of the workforce entirely due to the ongoing burden of caring for family and schooling children. This shift in the demographics of the workforce may put workplace gender diversity strategies at risk for years to come.
For Kiwi companies with employees in North America, one thing for sure is that it will be tough to retain 100% of employees no matter what they decide. Some staff may have moved to a new city or state to be with family or to save money on rent or mortgages. Talent will be reshuffling as employees decide if their current workplace strategy fits the lifestyle they need to juggle all their commitments. Staff in one country will be looking closely at their organisation’s employment policies in all countries and holding employers to account. The number one recommendation from McKinsey to business leaders right now is to communicate with your people. Clear communication to teams about their near-future working environment is critical and helps alleviate burnout and anxiety related to uncertainty.
With all the noise, confusion and mixed messages about the future of work in the media, this is one step employers must take.