Marching Sheep survey notes 81% want flexibility in terms of location of work.

The flexibility to work from home or any location that suits the employee, improved work-life balance through systematic and structural changes, and empathy and psychological safety from the manager are some key changes employees want in their workplace post-Covid-19.

These have been the findings from a pulse survey—by the HR advisory firm Marching Sheep—to gauge the evolving expectations of employees across industries.

The top expectation that emerged from the survey, Marching Sheep said, is around giving employees the flexibility to work from home or any location that suits employee, with 81% of respondents wanting flexibility in terms of their location of work. “The second wave has impacted every employee, every family in some way or the other, making us realise the importance of staying close to our loved ones, making flexibility a key ask from employees today. Flexibility not just in terms of location, but also time and their role. Organisations need to look at all these aspects of flexibility,” the survey noted.

The second highlight of the survey is the expectation around improved work-life balance through systematic and structural changes. “As per our pulse survey, almost 49% of respondents expect their employers to focus on work-life balance by introducing changes in the daily ways of working. In response, we have seen many organisations introduce concepts like ‘zero hour’, ‘no meeting Fridays’ and ‘care leaves’ and ‘silent hours’ to help employees balance work and home,” Marching Sheep said.

The third highlight is empathy and psychological safety from the manager, with 47% of respondents expecting their leaders to be empathetic and create a psychologically safe environment to work in. “Not only the leader, but the organisation as a whole needs to have a culture that values empathy. Organisations need to drive numbers and market share, but they also need to balance between business, employees and the overall purpose of the organisation,” the survey noted.

Also, 44% of respondents expect a focus on the healthcare support for self and family from their employers. The effect of the second wave of the pandemic has been much closer to home and more severe than the first wave. “People around us, our friends and family have been impacted by it, making it important for organisations to act in response to this expectation of employees,” it noted.

Lastly, reskilling, upskilling and career advancement opportunities are another focus area. “We see how organisations are collaborating with online learning platforms and encouraging their employees to learn new skills that will help organisations as well as employees in their careers.”