Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Post-pandemic, most employees want to work from home three days a week, a new McKinsey & Company report shows.
  • More than 25% said that they would consider switching employers if their organization returns to fully on-site work.
  • Mental health is a top priority.
  • The world is facing a ‘double-disruption’ scenario, with automation and COVID-19, according to the World Economic Forum.

Work-life balance, flexibility and mental health are front-of-mind for employees as they look to their employers for certainty about the future, according to a new report.

Companies around the world are reassessing their policies and working arrangements after the COVID-19 pandemic tore up traditional working practices.


Employees are keen to see organizations put a greater emphasis on flexibility, competitive compensation and well-being once the pandemic is over, according to a report from McKinsey & Company. And they expressed some concerns that their wants and needs may not match those of their employers.

a chart showing employees' top 4 hopes and fears
51% of respondents hope for a better work life balance. Image: McKinsey & Company

The world is facing a “double-disruption” scenario, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2020 report, as automation and the coronavirus redefine work. Jobs

What is the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit?

The World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit brings together leaders from business, government, civil society, media and the broader public to shape a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity.

The four-day virtual event, being held on 20-23 October 2020, comes as the world seeks a way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has further disrupted the world of work after years of growing income inequality, concerns about tech-driven job displacement, and rising societal discord.

The Summit will develop new frameworks, shape innovative solutions and accelerate action on four thematic pillars: Economic Growth, Revival and Transformation; Work, Wages and Job Creation; Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning; and Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

Here are four themes that have emerged from studies about the future of work:

1. Work-life balance is key

More than half of employees said they want more flexible, hybrid virtual-working models, where employees are sometimes on-premises and sometimes working remotely, the McKinsey report said.

“A hybrid model can help organizations make the most of talent wherever it resides,” the report notes. At the same time, it can “lower costs and strengthen organizational performance”.

a chart showing that most employees would prefer a more flexible working model after the pandemic is over
52% of respondents would prefer a hybrid working model post-COVID-19. Image: McKinsey & Company

2. Flexibility

Within that hybrid model, most employees want to work from home for three days a week, McKinsey data showed.

And those workers are prepared to jump ship if those conditions aren’t met. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they would consider switching employers if their organization returned to fully on-site work.

a chart showing that the majority of employees would like to work from home at least three days per week in the future
Over 50% of employees would like to work from home at least three days per week in the future. Image: McKinsey & Company

3. Clear vision

Having strong, understandable policies and communicating them clearly was also important, with many participants saying a lack of clarity made them feel anxious.

More than a third of respondents ranked clear hours and expectations for collaboration in their top-five policies. Collaboration tools and reimbursement for remote-work office set-ups were also strongly rated.

a chart showing that individuals who are not being communicated to are feeling anxious about the future
Many employees need more communication and reassurance. Image: McKinsey & Company

4. Mental health focus

Well-being is crucial for many employees, with more than three-quarters of respondents to a survey from Arizona State University, the World Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation saying employee mental health is now a top priority.

charts showing that 50% of employers reported an increase in the use of available company resources related to mental health since the pandemic began
Employee wellbeing resources have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Image: McKinsey & Company

Employers appear to be responding, with more than half reporting an increase in the use of available company resources related to mental health, according to McKinsey.

“Anxiety is known to decrease work performance, reduce job satisfaction, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues, among other ills,” the McKinsey report said. “For the global economy, the loss of productivity because of poor mental health – including anxiety – might be as high as $1 trillion per year.”

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