It has been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and closed all kinds of offices, shops and workplaces. What many of us thought was a short stint of work from home soon turned into our extended reality.
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, more people are vaccinated and mask requirements are relaxed, employers around the world are taking steps to define the future of work for their teams. Huh. For marketing leaders, this presents an opportunity to take stock of the expectations, operating procedures and rituals that should be carried forward – and what should be left behind – after the pandemic.
Using Sprout Social’s advanced listening, we analyzed over 149,000 messages across Twitter from April 1, 2021 to June 15, 2021, to get an idea of how businesses are preparing for the future work, How workers are reacting to this and how leaders can best support them no matter where they work.
People have mixed feelings about the future of work
As vaccination rates rise, conversations about reopening offices are moving closer together. However, the way people feel about the future of work is less consistent.
April 2020: Working from home sucks
April 2021: I’ll leave if we have to go back to the office full time
— Sophie Vershbow (@svershbow) April 27, 2021
Of all the Tweets we analyzed about listening, 36% registered as positive, 27% as neutral and 37% as negative. By looking at the trend lines below, we can see how much the sentiment changes on a daily basis.
For employers in the midst of office reopening plans, timing, transparency and communication are everything. Not everyone is ready to switch to working full-time in the office, even if they’ve been vaccinated, and respecting that can be a make-or-break when it comes to retaining talent.
All signs point to a hybrid work model
A hybrid work model, where employees can split time between in-office and working remotely, is a popular compromise that businesses can adopt instead of returning to the office in full force.
Between April 1, 2021 and June 15, 2021, tweets about hybrid work increased by over 240%. In contrast to the future of mass work conversations, 57% of these tweets registered as positive, 26% neutral and only 17% negative.
The upward trend in the conversation around hybrid work coincides with business trends. Even though some leaders remain reluctant about flexible work models, nine out of ten organizations worldwide plan to work remotely and on site.
Despite all the evidence that #WFH and hybrid #Work The programs are a win-win, I expect some companies to essentially bring people back to the office full time.
After being stretched out like a rubber band, it will return to its original shape.
Some leaders do not want change.
— Mark C. Crowley (@MarkCCrowley) 4 May 2021
Adapt to the workers’ preferred work style and environment
Harvard Business School Online recently commissioned a survey of professionals who worked remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown and found that working remotely does not hinder productivity, contrary to the opinion of some executives. In fact, it did the exact opposite.
One in three respondents felt they were more focused and that both their overall performance and quality of work improved when working at home.
While some roles are more naturally suited to office environments, many marketers hold positions that can be performed remotely, if they prefer. As businesses decide which working model is the best way forward, leaders should listen to their employees to see where and when they feel most productive.
In addition to receiving internal feedback through traditional employee surveys, businesses can use social listening to get unfiltered ideas from the culture at large to influence their plans.
With vaccines widely available, companies are bringing employees back to the office. In March 2020, the idea of broadcasting from home was crazy for me. Now, I feel like I do my best work here. I am more productive. I work out a lot longer, but overall, I’m more satisfied. somebody else?
— lindsey marie (@lindsayoneair) April 28, 2021
Take care of your social media team and their mental health
Social media manager shoulder in particular a lot Professional challenges in the last year, While some things slowed down during the events of 2020, data from a Harris Poll from Sprout Social showed that social media use increased – and shows no signs of slowing down. Additionally, 90% of business executives reported that in the next three years, their company’s social media marketing budget would increase significantly.
The increasing demands that come with the social role, coupled with the “always on” nature of social, make burnout a very real challenge that employers need to keep an eye on.
Within our listening topic, we found that the volume of messages about mental health and burnout began to increase as more workplaces opened back up.
For some, the flexibility and autonomy of remote working can help reduce burnout. For others, the structure and communal nature of the office are beneficial to mental health. Instead of making decisions for employees, business leaders should ideally listen to them about what they think is best for their long-term well-being.
Remote work is a disability concern. This is a concern for women. It’s a people-who-want-better-mental-health concern. If you want to go back to the office, no one is stopping you. But you shouldn’t step on the rest of us.
— shantini (@shant209) 5 June 2021
For extroverts who like to be around people:
It’s great that you’re excited about going back to the office and being with your peers again, but please remember that many people in office environments are less productive, anxious, easily distracted, etc. 1/3
— elector (@elhector) May 27, 2021
Distributed teams can open doors to more diverse talent
There are many long-term benefits that companies can derive from adopting these working models. One, in particular, stands out: inclusive recruitment opportunities.
Distributed, remote teams mean that location no longer determines value from a job seeker’s role or salary standpoint. Eliminating location bias from the equation opens the door for more diverse talent, which is good news for marketers.
Marketing teams with a diversity of ideas, experiences, cultures and backgrounds have a better chance of engaging with a diverse audience, which should always be a goal.
“As we look to the post-pandemic workplace, leaders have the opportunity to redesign their processes, policies and norms with central principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, including flexible work cores tailored to your working model. making is involved.” https://t.co/RB0dci8qmI
— Jenny Field (@mrsjennifield) April 17, 2021
the future of work is now
The great work from home experiment hasn’t reached its conclusion yet, but the results showed that remote or hybrid models are here to stay for a long time. No matter what path a business takes, employers should keep listening to their people at all stages of reopening or rethinking the way their team works. With their guidance and feedback, businesses can continue to develop their work policies.
Social listening gave us an insight into what the future of work looks like. This prompts Sprout customers and employees to ask “What day is leg day?” It has also helped in answering questions like Read more to get answers to that and eight other questions.