Even with threats of a recession, tech workers will still be in high demand because of the talent revolution. They have the skills companies need and can shift jobs with ease. Offering tech workers the chance to work away from the office is the best way to keep them around, as many employers assume. According to a new study, 18% of tech employees prefer remote work.
Tech employees want something. How should their expectations be used by employers to create work experiences for all of their people?
Tech workers are a great place to start in looking at the work experience, because tech is a significant sector of the economy and it is influential for many other areas of work. The tech industry is the second biggest driver of the U.S. economy, making up 10.5% of GDP. The global tech industry is worth billions. Almost 9% of the U.S. labor force is made up of tech workers, and half of them are under the age of 40. They make 85% more than the other workers.
Tech workers are often assumed to be quiet, but of course this is not the case. There are implications for how to create great work experiences for all workers as a result of a new study.
- They Want Hybrid Work. Contrary to popular opinion, only 18% of tech workers want to work away from the office full time, and 34% prefer to work in an office full time. Nearly half want hybrid work in which they can work in the office sometimes, and remote at other times. This is specific to generations, with Gen Z workers preferring to be in the office more than other generations.
- They Want Choices. Most tech workers are committed to having choices about where they work, with 95% saying it’s important to have the ability to work remotely and 63% reporting if they don’t have the option to work remote, it would affect their willingness to take a job or stay at a job. In fact, getting them into an office full time will be tough, with 64% saying they would demand a 20% pay increase to work in the office 5 days a week.
- They Want Flexibility for Work-Life. For tech workers, flexibility is more important than pay. They value flexibility because it helps them take care of at-home responsibilities (37%) and care for children and other family members (28%). In addition, they value flexibility so they can avoid an everyday commute (22%).
- They Want Connection and Mentorship. One of the reasons tech workers don’t want full-time remote work is because of their desire to collaborate with colleagues, connect with co-workers and access leaders. In fact, 44% of tech workers say if they work away from the office too much, they miss community and camaraderie that comes from working with others. They also say they have difficulty communicating (35%) and they miss opportunities for mentorship (26%).
Employers can inform their decisions about creating great experience for employees based on what tech workers want. These are the wise strategies.
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Create a Culture Which Compels
The company should create a culture where people feel a sense of purpose and clear direction where their work is connected to what matters to the company and to them. Ensuring the culture creates the conditions for belonging and good relationships with colleagues, high levels of respect and the opportunity to share ideas, process differences of opinion, innovate and execute with excellence. These are the cultures where people want to show up in the office and engage from home.
Ensure Processes Are Clear
Well-designed processes allow people to feel a line of sight from their work to that of others. In a hybrid work environment, teams need to be clear about which parts of their work cycles benefit from in-person time and which are not. When people have a sense of guidelines for when to come into the office, it can help them connect more efficiently, not having to make a decision every day about when to come in, but rather having a sense of which days face-to-face work will be prevalent.
Provide Access to Leaders
Encouraging leaders to show up for people in the office and virtually is a great idea because people want access to leaders and they want them to be present. Smart companies are giving feedback to leaders so they can evolve their skills to manage in new ways.
Align Work and Growth Opportunities
People want to know that their work is important. As much as possible, align people’s current skills and passions to their work responsibilities and understand where they want to grow, so they can see a bright future with the organization.
Design Great Workplaces
The need to create offices that are worth the commute is obvious. Work has changed and it should. People can collaborate, connect, socialize and feel part of a community if the workplace is designed like that. Offices should include places where people can get away and perform focused work, and places where they can learn both formally and informally. You can create places that are enriched with daylight, natural elements and amenities. The office will make people want to be there.
Most tech workers don’t want to work from home all the time, and many employees want some time in the office. The best thing about hybrid work is the way it can be the best of both worlds, with the opportunity for flexibility and quality of life, but also great workplaces people want to be in in order to connect, collaborate and be a part of a community. With all the shifts in work, this is a great time to make work better for all workers.