Weekend Poll Results: From A Great Upheaval to The Great Reshuffle

How people are doing

In a Weekend Poll a few weeks ago, I again asked readers questions about how and what you’re doing at this point in our pandemic lives. I published some of the results late last month, and you can see those by clicking here

Let’s pick up today by first looking at how people have been doing. Seven percent of respondents reported you’re having a difficult time, which can serve as a good reminder to exercise empathy in our dealings with others. Without diminishing the  challenges some are facing, it’s a positive indicator to see that this is the lowest percentage of respondents who reported such difficulties since I began posing the question last year.

In fact, the percentage of respondents who said they were having a difficult time in September 2021 was less than half the percentage of those experiencing difficulties in November 2021! Perhaps those who are struggling now may take hope in this, knowing that things can and will improve.

At the other end of the spectrum, one in four respondents said you’re doing well. Once again, there’s consistency in the percentage of readers who, when presented with three response options from which to choose, said the pandemic has brought challenges, but you’re doing fine overall. While there have been fluctuations of 10% and more in terms of people either (a) having difficulty or (b) doing well, there have been only minor fluctuations – not exceeding a 3% variation – since 2020 when it comes to those who find themselves doing fine overall.

The Great Reshuffle

We hear and read a lot these days about what’s been referred to as The Great Resignation. It’s been widely reported that almost four and a half million (4.3M) Americans, three percent of that country’s labour force, resigned from their jobs in August 2021. Some corporate leaders, beginning (methinks) with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, instead use the term, The Great Reshuffle.  

That sounds right to me. Let’s be pragmatic. Most people need to work, particularly with inflation (even if it does ease in a year or so) becoming a significant factor for the first time in many individuals’ adult lives. These resignations are happening even as some of you reading this are unemployed – or underemployed – on the heels of the pandemic. I suggest it’s not as if almost four and a half million people in one country alone have abandoned the notion of working. Perhaps, for some, the call back to traditional career environments lost the battle as people have reassessed how and where they want to work.

From The Great Upheaval to (for some) a preferred norm

What was a great upheaval in early 2020 has become the norm for many assistants – and for the family members who have come to rely on your presence. All this is independent, of course, of time and costs associated with commuting to the office.

When we think about habit formation, it’s worth contemplating just how long people have now been working remotely. Thirty-seven percent of respondents told me the longest stretch of time you’ve worked remotely since early 2020 is somewhere between 18 and 23 months. In total, 57% of respondents said the longest continuous period of time in which you worked from home is a year or longer. So, it’s unsurprising that many people have become accustomed to this type of career. 

A hybrid (r)evolution?

In one training presentation I deliver, Career Recalibration: Resilience and Strategic Alliance with New Norms, we do an environmental scan, looking at trends and how employers and employees are recalibrating careers and expectations. With past industrial revolutions in mind, I suggest hybrid careers represent an evolution in how many – yet not all – people prefer to work … at least in the near term.

73% of respondents would prefer hybrid careers
When I asked readers in fall 2021 about your preferred work environments, 73% said you’d like hybrid arrangements, in which you can work from both home and in an office environment with colleagues.

An additional 10% would like to work entirely remotely, and only 10% of respondents said you’d like to return to our (already) old ways, working in an office environment with colleagues.

That doesn’t mean assistants are resigning en masse

Remember, I asked how you’d like to work, and what you’d prefer. It’s worth considering, though, how comfortable people are with the notion of returning to or having already returned to an office environment with colleagues around you. As of September 2021, 32% of respondents picked the middle option ( a “2” ranking) I offered. That represents being somewhere in between feeling at ease and feeling uncomfortable or nervous with returning to the office environment.  

Uncomfortable or nervous is how 20% of respondents felt about being back in the office. Almost half – 47% – the readers who responded said you’re comfortable and at ease with this.

Are those traditional offices seeing more activity again?

Forty-one percent of respondents said that, as of September 2021, 50% or more of your local colleagues were once again routinely working or based in the office once again. An additional 24% said that was the case for anywhere from 26% to 49% of your colleagues. 

When I asked what percentage of local colleagues were working remotely, 44% said that was the case for 50% or more of your colleagues.

More to come

We’re at a unique point in time, and there’s more to unpack from this particular Weekend Poll. While my next Weekend Poll, coming out in a couple of days, will focus on sleep, wellness and resilience, please watch for another poll on the pandemic career before the month is out.

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