When corporate culture adapts to new employee needs

With employees doing more hybrid work, office perks seem to be changing. — AFP Relaxnews

For the past two years, the pandemic has triggered an upheaval in work rhythms and, by consequence, in corporate culture. Within various large companies, the return to the office marks the end of certain benefits in kind. At the same time, changes are being made in order to better align with evolving values of employees who are putting greater emphasis on well-being and the search for meaning.

Telework has brought about major changes in both lifestyles and the world of business. The introduction of hybrid work, with a two-day-a-week remote work schedule, is reshaping office practices. Several signs of a shift in this world can be observed, particularly in large technology companies.

The end of certain advantages, the importance of certain guarantees in new contracts, investing in diversity beyond conventional networks, increased attention to well-being... These new priorities entail more than a change in organisation; they are reshaping corporate culture.

Benefits are evolving

One example is Facebook parent company Meta, which announced on March 11 that it would be cutting certain services allocated to employees, such as on-site laundry service. The company will also reduce the free evening dinnertime, several employees told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. It will now start at 6.30pm, with fewer options for employees to take food to go.

The news was in many ways not well received, as most of the group’s employees prepared to return to the office on March 28.

“The changes could be a warning shot for employees at other companies that are preparing to return to the office after two years of the coronavirus pandemic,” the New York Times noted, suggesting that other companies may follow suit.

These privileges have long served as an argument to attract talent and build up the reputation of large companies in the technology sector. Now, the elimination or reduction of such benefits raises questions about employee compensation: does this mean that salaries will increase?

At the same time, some companies are changing their approach and developing other offerings to meet changing needs. Gone are fun perks, such as tabletop football, nap rooms as well as extras like laundry services. Such benefits no longer have the same impact as they presuppose a workforce of employees who are in the office for very long hours. But that’s something that has evolved with remote work and the pandemic and thus needs have also evolved.

To retain talent and attract new talent, companies are focusing more on family and wellness-oriented health plans. Practical help that touches on life outside the workplace.

According to several surveys, many Americans would prefer these kinds of benefits (such as family care support or fertility treatment assistance) or paid leave instead of higher wages. These benefits can be very valuable. For instance in terms of fertility treatments, often only top-earning would-be parents can afford this kind of assistance.

Diversity and inclusiveness at the forefront for companies

Diversity and inclusiveness are prominent themes in the workplace today. Companies are embracing equality and keeping a close eye on the experience of their employees.

“Particularly in remote contexts (and) organisations, one’s experience of work is so closely tied to just their experience of their team,” Bryan Walker, managing director and business transformation specialist at Ideo, pointed out to Protocol.com.

An increased emphasis on diversity was observed by the authors of a Brookings study on the geography of tech workers. With the pandemic, mid-sized cities have seen an increase in tech employment. Talent has spread outside the usual tech hubs.

Mark Muro, one of the authors of the report, explained that the industry wants to diversify its workforce. So it’s beginning that transformation by looking for other interesting profiles outside the standard processes.

“The leading organisations are certainly looking at this moment as an evolutionary moment. It’s a moment where you get to question a lot of things, and you get to potentially change a lot of things,” Walker told Protocol.com. – AFP Relaxnews

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Hybrid work , office perks , Silicon Valley


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