You have probably heard, and perhaps used the popular phrase – “That’s gonna leave a mark.” In 2017, comedy writer Shawn Kohne spent seven months researching how many times the joke was used in movies, television shows, and even video games. Kohne was able to identify 105 examples of its use between 1987 and 2017 – from Spaceballs to Charlotte’s Web to NCIS. “That’s gonna leave a mark” can describe the impact of the last few years on the workplace, particularly on employee relationships with coworkers, managers, leaders, and their organizations.
The Evolution Continues
According to Gallup’s Ben Wigert, a relationship reset is coming in 2024, and he cites six workplace trends that bear watching this year. These are based on Gallup’s findings regarding the radical ways organizations are changing how they do business – and how employees are being impacted. Over the past 4 years, there has been a major shift in where and how people work. For example, in 2019, 60% of employees capable of working remotely spent their entire week working on-site. In 2023, only 20% of remote-capable employees did so.
Managers are Key
Over the past 10 months, work location trends seem to have stabilized. For example, eight in ten CHROs from Fortune 500 companies said they had no plans to decrease remote work flexibility in the next twelve months. But about half of U.S. workers’ jobs cannot be performed offsite. During the peak of the pandemic businesses introduced or expanded remote work options to remain operational. This elevated stress levels created by additional job responsibilities and restructuring continues for many organizations. Gallup cited three key responses from managers when asked about organizational changes in 2023.
- 64% said employees were given additional job responsibilities
- 51% mentioned restructuring of teams
- 42% said they had seen budget cuts in the organization
Gallup found that in 2023, managers were struggling with burnout, disengagement, and were more likely than non-managers to seek employment elsewhere. Frustrated managers negatively affect morale, engagement, and effectiveness of their teams. In fact, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement.
Hybrid Work Challenges
Hybrid work has largely been normalized for remote-capable workers, as those employees embraced the freedom and convenience which it affords. At the same time, managers and leaders reported reduced burnout and improved retention among hybrid workers. But separation also causes definite challenges.
Hybrid workers reported five challenges to offsite productivity.
- Less access to resources and equipment
- Less connection to organization’s culture
- Less collaboration
- Diminished relationships with coworkers
- Less communication
It’s clear that organizational changes accelerated by the pandemic and post-pandemic years will not reverse any time soon. Developing a long-term plan is critical to improving communication, collaboration, relationships, and culture. Check out Gallup’s Six Workplace Trends Leaders Should Watch in 2024 to read more.