The Great Resignation: What You Need to Know to Navigate the Changing Workforce
Updated: Jan 16, 2022
I am fascinated by the idea suggested by Professor Anthony Klotz. He predicts that many people will leave their jobs and simply resign post-pandemic and when life returns to so-called normal. The Great Resignation. Actually, from 25% to more than 40% of workers are considering resigning. I am starting to see with clients, especially in the last few months, a dire need to make a shift. Career transition is on the rise.
What is the New Normal?
But how can we classify what is "normal"? A decade ago, working remotely may have been looked upon as odd or different. Some may have been stereotyped or considered to be slacking off if they were not working in the office full-time or working remotely.
The Reality of Remote Work: Longer Hours and Increased Stress
Yet, today we know that these are outdated myths and beliefs. Since the pandemic, most professionals have been putting in even significantly more hours than in the office, working not only longer and experiencing more stress than usual as they strived to balance competing demands. The remote work transition fuelled a wake-up call for adjusting to a new way of living, learning, and working. The world of work has even fuelled a sense of isolation for many.
There is a fundamental danger that lies within this view as French philosopher Michel Foucault suggests that, by setting the boundaries for what is "normal" or not deemed "normal" imposes people to behave in a certain way. Is working from home the "new normal"? For some, and even most professionals, perhaps. But if this is the case, will it possibly lead to detesting or favouring this new lifestyle more than going back to the office? How will this new way of work impact productivity, team communication, morale, promotions, and other elements? What special accommodations need to be considered for remote employees in order to keep the forward momentum humming and retention high? These are insightful questions to consider for both the employer and their team.
Working Remotely: Benefit or Added Burden?
These days, our personal and professional lives are so intricately blended that it is hard to tell whether remote work is the precursor to greater freedom or feeling entrapped by a more chaotic and dissatisfying "new normal"? Since 2020, we have seen a greater concentration on work-life integration rather than work-life balance. As our lives become busier and various internal and external forces continue to influence our lifestyles, work-life balance may not always be realistically attainable.
It's hard to tell what the better option is - it all depends on different variables. In fact, there have been talks of many professionals feeling anxiety about returning to the office. The fear of the unknown will rear its ugly head. And for some, the powerplays of previous office politics and the transition from hybrid roles or remote roles to 100% in-office might seem quite daunting.
If you have always enjoyed working in the office rather than remotely, the step towards going back to in-office will no doubt be overwhelming. Communication and relationships change, and so will the culture.
Navigating the Post-Pandemic Office Transition
How will professionals and managers navigate this transition? Will working remotely half of the time and in-office the rest of the time be the best approach? Managers will need to carefully evaluate the company's goals, culture, employees' individual and collective needs, and what structure would work best to maximize productivity and enhance the corporate culture while satisfying employees' needs post pandemic. Thus, employees will need to remain adaptable and go with the flow with either a remote approach, hybrid approach, or a 100% in-office approach.
In case professionals are not comfortable with any of these options or returning back to the office, a career transition will likely be a more attractive option. However, they will need to ponder the opportunity costs of returning back to the office and what they want to do for the next stretch of their career. Lockdowns, business closures, and pandemic or health concerns have really shifted mindsets, enforcing a different perspective about life and the need to embrace change as a constant force. We have needed to become more compassionate, resilient, patient, and trusting in ourselves and each other.
The Impact of Remote Work on People's Perceptions About Work
After all, the pandemic allowed people more quality time with families, some time for reflection and soul-searching, and a space to engage their personal interests. Let's face it - remote work has changed people and how they think about work. Remote work might even give you a competitive edge to be able to translate office politics into positive outcomes.
Yet, post-pandemic life will look quite different as capacity expands across businesses and mask-wearing and social distancing starts to tone down. If employees can experience a taste of both worlds - remote and in-office, then many professionals may consider this a fair tradeoff. However, if remote work has swayed professionals to abandon the office for good, then a career change may be the next step.
Is the "Great Resignation" tempting you to resign along with rest, or are you embracing the possibilities and considering all your options? Think of the Great Resignation as "The Great Reevaluation" - a chance for you to step back, deeply reflect, and weigh all your options and values. Maybe you want to work remotely or opt for a hybrid role. Then again, you may find that the company will decide on a hybrid approach or a structure that can accommodate the needs and preferences of most employees while meeting strategic goals.
So, let's talk about your next career move. As your career change advocate, I want to champion you towards achieving your next career milestone. The time is now! The world of work doesn't wait and your career satisfaction cannot afford to wait either. Contact Creative Horizons Communications at 905.730.2374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon!