labor market

Flexibility: The Driving Force Behind Today’s Labor Market

Rich Oakes | Oct 02, 2020

Last month I presented at the 2020 FICO Mastermind Virtual Event, an event for executives, influencers and decision-makers in the vehicle finance industry. The labor market trends I shared are significant and applicable to all industries and leaders managing hiring strategies. You can watch the presentation in its entirety here or read through the below recap.

Trend #1: The Workplace is Changing 

There is a significant shift from on on-site to remote work. Only 7% of US employees worked from home before COVID-19. Now, 62% of US employees are working from home. This is a trend that has steadily grown and has only been accelerated by the current COVID-19 crisis. And it’s here for the long haul. 

While on-site work (manufacturing, logistics, operations, etc.) will never go away, a Harvard Business School study revealed that at least 16% of American workers will remain at-home workers long after the COVID-19 crisis has receded, representing a persistent shift. 

Trend #2: Scheduling Flexibility is an Absolute Necessity

In a recent study GigSmart commissioned, 78% of people said scheduling flexibility is an absolute necessity when searching for a job. 

It is important to note that workplace flexibility doesn’t just mean working remotely. It encompasses all types of working arrangements; for example, flexible work shifts to manage homeschooling, paid time off, temporary work, and more. 

A solid work-life balance is necessary for both employers and employees, even if it comes at the expense of a traditional 9-to-5 workday. The workplace has evolved and people want choice and flexibility to ride career waves, develop new skills, and grow professional and personally. People want to work hard, but they want to do it their way. 

Trend #3: Historical Biases are Being Questioned 

Companies are challenging the status quo and outdated biases. Does my entire organization need to be composed of W2 employees? Do a majority of employees need to work on-site within a commercial office setting? Is the physical location the best option to sell my product or service?

These are the crucial questions to ask. Be bold enough to pivot and break away from historical norms.  

Trend #4: Alignment Between What Employers Want and What Employees Want

Workers are increasingly seeking flexibility and control over rigid, traditional W2 structures employment.

40+ hour work weeks turned into 60+ hour work weeks and full-time workers are burning out. Rather than resorting to temporary workers to plug the holes in staffing, future proof your workforce by using them to supplement your workforce to prevent burnout. 

What’s the punchline? More and more American workers need flexibility and control, and an increasing number of companies are looking for ways to incorporate flex labor solutions. As leaders, we need to react. 

What Now? 

I recommend every company, across industries, audit each department and each role within the department. 

It is important to take into account the trends changing today’s labor market. It is critical to have a healthy mix of on-site and remote workers. Diversify your staffing strategy with W2 employees, third-party outsourced solutions, and independent contractors. 

By adjusting to these trends companies can save money, secure the best talent, fill positions faster, experience less turnover, and consistently outproduce competitors.

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