7 stats on what employees really want in the future of work

There is no denying that the world is changing due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the past two years (yes, it’s been a really long time), we’ve lived something out of a science fiction novel. Borders closed, restaurants closed, streets closed, and more time at home than we’d ever thought marked the COVID world and the post-COVID world for us.

We couldn’t be happier that the international vaccine rollout is progressing and life can slowly begin to return to normal…well, the new normal, at least. One of the most pressing questions for companies in our current reality concerns the future of work. What exactly would it look like? What business models will dominate and what do employees want moving forward?

At TravelPerk, we ask ourselves these very questions. And much more. So, we decided to go back to basics and start asking people what they think the future of work holds. We turned to our social media followers for answers, and here’s what some of them had to say.

People don’t just want hybrid cars. They want a hybrid business, too.

72% of working professionals who answered our survey claim that they would like to return to the office one to two days per week. The job market is changing from the traditional 9-5, office first model. The work environment has become more flexible, as remote work is no longer just a feature reserved for the finest companies in the world. The ability to work from home part-time and come to the office for face-to-face meetings turns out to be not just a fact, but an expectation.

In fact, this increased flexibility is what workers crave most. In a recent survey, we found that the business model that respondents overwhelmingly prefer is one in which they can decide when to go to the office themselves. They crave the independence that this business model provides, giving them the ability to work from anywhere when they need it, and meet in person at meetings that matter to them. The least popular options were the 100% office first policy in only 7% of participants, and the 100% remote control option in 13%.

Work in graph 2022

Business leaders around the world are taking this time to reflect and consider the right business model for their companies. This involves many serious questions, such as:

  • Will desk-first, telecommuting or hybrid work better fit the company’s culture and values?
  • How can we preserve the mental health and physical well-being of our employees in this new way of working?
  • How might office management expenses change? How will the offices themselves change?
  • What new technologies and tools will we need to provide employees to facilitate a seamless transition between home and the office?
  • How do we determine which teams should meet face-to-face for and what they can do digitally? Where does the value of an in-person meeting really lie?

All of these questions, and many more, are central to this decision-making process. If you are currently trying to figure out the most suitable model for your company or business, we suggest you go back to the basics of who you are. Start from the beginning, a very good place to start!

Entrepreneurs and remote workers on the move.

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted many people to rethink their living and working conditions. With “work from anywhere” and full-time telecommuting becoming a very real possibility for many office workers globally, people are looking to turn things around a bit.

And it’s funny, whether these people are looking for full-time jobs in a new location or hoping to start something of their own, it’s pretty clear that talented human capital is drawn to…(Drums please!)…Barcelona. I can’t say we are surprised.

european cities chart

Entrepreneurs and remote workers alike are setting up camp in Barcelona for its tech startup scene. In fact, 70% of the respondents to our survey of the Best European City for Entrepreneurship declared Barcelona the best choice for them!

The startup community is thriving in the city, with thousands of startups, accelerators and incubators leaving their mark on business and society. And we can’t say it’s a surprise – the affordable cost of living, major tech events like Mobile World Congress and great weather all year round make Barcelona a very attractive option for young professionals. Startups and expansions in Fintech, Travel Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Cryptocurrency, and much more are starting to emerge faster than you can tell paella!

People want to see the world face to face. Not from screen to screen.

Remember that day when Facebook fell and took WhatsApp and Instagram with it? October 4th, 2020 was a strange day for all of us – a day when we were suddenly completely separated from each other. After nearly two years of relying on technology primarily for social interaction, we silenced the radio for 6 hours.

Social media infographic

And imagine what? People love it. According to our own poll, 55% of people never miss any of their social media platforms. In fact, they desperately needed a break!

So what does that mean? At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, screen time increased by an average of 13 hours per day among adults. It makes sense if you think about it. Between video conferencing for work, calling friends on WhatsApp for fun, watching hours upon hours of Tiger King or replaying Breaking Bad – the hours add up! Can we really say it’s shocking that people are sick and tired of being constantly connected to a device? Human beginnings are inherently social creatures (and that’s not just us saying) that thrive on cooperation and collaboration. It’s simple biology. We need to see each other in person. It’s just a close connection with who we are.

This is even more true in the workplace. With these changing business models, one thing is clear – people want to meet face to face again. In fact, over 50% of respondents believe they should meet with their teams in person at least once a week!

In-person graph

…which is why professionals want to travel for work again.

business travel chart

39% of survey respondents said that what they most look forward to about traveling for work again is the ability to meet face to face. Yes, the world of work has changed. Not all meetings have to be done in person – but there are some that do. Tactical meetings, catch-up, and quick alignment of projects can happen on Zoom, no problem. But brainstorming sessions, creative get-togethers, and even sales meetings are much better on a personal level.

An interesting new type of business trip is also emerging – where teams travel to meet each other in person. Team building events and company offsites are increasingly important in this new hybrid world, with employees indicating a clear desire to increase the frequency of outdoor sites. Instead of just having external sites once a year, employees make sure they have them once every three months so they can meet, exchange ideas, and build memories outside of their daily responsibilities.

Off-site team graph

wrapping

Whether you’re thinking about how to set mixed work parameters for your company, or you’re an employee looking at how to structure your mixed work schedule, the question is the same. What types of face-to-face meetings do you think should be held? What types of meetings can you run online?

The bottom line for making this decision comes down to the nature of the business and what you need to do. Think about the results you want to achieve, the process you have to go through, and decide based on that where the value comes from.

At the end of the day, the future of work is all about changing the way you think to fit your new reality. The value of heading to specific workspaces in person or meeting online will soon become clear.