COVID-19 is messing up career plans and companies are not meeting our needs

Lessons learned from the early months of the pandemic have the potential to create inspiring workplaces going forward

To add to workplace woes about the state of 2020, a recent survey has uncovered workers' gripes about how workers felt about safety, psychological security, and job security, and how the pandemic has affected their career plans.

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In June 2020, Lowell, MA-based Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and workplace intelligence surveyed 3,903 employees and business leaders in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

It wanted to discover how they felt about their employer's initial COVID-19 response and explores the top needs and concerns of the workforce through 2021.

The survey questions explored leadership and employee attitudes around trust in the workplace, digital transformation and crisis response/management.

The "Hindsight 2020: COVID Concerns into 2021" survey found that only one in five (20%) felt that their organization met their needs during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work does seem to have increased. Half of the employees globally say they have been working either the same or more hours regularly since the start of the pandemic, which helps to explain why over two in five (43%) call their organization's ability to balance workloads to prevent fatigue and burnout a priority.

Burnout and fatigue are equally concerning for employees working remotely (43%) and those in a physical workplace (43%).

Overall, three in five (59%) employees and business leaders say their organization has taken at least some measures to guard against burnout, though, overall, 29% of employees wish organizations would act with more empathy.

Over a third of employees and business leaders (36%) are concerned about future layoffs and furloughs due to economic instability created by COVID-19. Workers are most concerned in China (44%), followed by Mexico (41%), Canada (40%), and the U.S. (37%).

These concerns about job security span all generations: Gen Z and young Millennials (35%), older Millennials (37%), Gen Xers (36%), and Boomers (34%) are all equally worried.

Even though older workers are considered a higher risk population for COVID-19, the younger the respondent, the more concerned they are with rapid notifications in the workplace.

This is the biggest concern for more than half of Gen Zers and younger Millennials (51%), and then decreasing by generation from older Millennials (45%), to Gen Xers (44%), and then Boomers (42%).

Three in 10 employees and business leaders wished their organization better-leveraged technology to provide flexibility, especially when the pandemic was at its most chaotic. This is especially true for those with families (34%), though this technology-focused wish exposes a generational divide between youngest workers (31%) to Boomers (19%).

However, it is not all doom and gloom. A third of employees globally (33%) say they trust their employer more now than before the pandemic began because of how organizations reacted.

For individual employees, working from home seems to have put their career aspirations on hold – or has at least made it rather difficult for them to network their way to another job.

San Francisco, CA-based anonymous professional network Blind surveyed 1625 respondents to find how the pandemic is affecting their career plans.

It discovered that three out of four (74%) of surveyed professionals state that they have not been able to network internally since work from home began. Four out of five (82%) of Apple professionals say they have not been able to network internally since WFH, and nine out of ten (89%) of Adobe professionals and 92% of Uber professionals say they have not been able to network internally since WFH

Over half (53%) of surveyed professionals state that their career progression has been negatively impacted since WFH began. Professionals at Google (69%), Intuit (77%) and VMware (70%) believe their career progression has been negatively impacted the most

To better manage the threat of COVID moving forward, workers are hoping that employers act faster, communicate more regularly and with transparency, create a safer office environment, and leverage technology better.

But workers who want to move jobs had better find some inventive, online way to make those connections to get their next role - as COVID-19 does not seem to be going away for the forseeable future.

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