A LinkedIn Survey Shows That Americans Are 'Sheltering’ In Their Jobs, Afraid To Make The Switch - Forbes

A LinkedIn Survey Shows That Americans Are 'Sheltering’ In Their Jobs, Afraid To Make The Switch - Forbes


A LinkedIn Survey Shows That Americans Are 'Sheltering’ In Their Jobs, Afraid To Make The Switch - Forbes

Posted: 19 Feb 2021 08:43 AM PST

Sheltering at home, social distancing and wearing a mask has become the new standards set by the Covid-19 outbreak. There's another related new normal that has emerged throughout the pandemic—sheltering in your job.

Since the outbreak started last March, about 80 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Some sectors, such as hotels, travel airlines, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, gyms and businesses that require face-to-face contact or large gatherings, saw massive layoffs. 

There have been hot areas, like online retailing—Amazon—and other digital businesses that didn't need to rely upon physical locations.

Even in areas where there are jobs, according to a study conducted by LinkedIn, people are not aggressively looking for a new job. The Workforce Confidence Index survey of 5,520 members in late January of the professional-focused social media platform said they're reluctant to leave their jobs for another one. 

They are afraid to take the leap. As job search strategist and Top LinkedIn Voice for 2020 Kamara Toffolo said in a LinkedIn Live, "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know." Some people feel it's safer to stay where they are rather than take the chance to find a different job. It's especially nerve-wracking, as the recent weekly and monthly jobs reports show that hiring is stubbornly slow, and the U.S. still has 10 million less jobs than before the pandemic started. 

The fear is that you'd accept a job, only to find out later that the company is laying off staff, as their business conditions have declined. The prospect of interviewing through Zoom, and not meeting people in person, seems cold to many prospective job seekers. 

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They may also feel uncomfortable that the new job would have them  working at home without the chance to meet with and get to know their  new co-workers. It's too easy for folks who are relatively content with their jobs to keep their heads down and wait things out. 

They'll rationalize that it's not worth the risk. Even if they receive a 10% raise, after taxes, it's not very meaningful. It's not worth the stress, aggravation and uncertainty of engaging in the job hunt and accepting a position that may or may not work out well for a small salary increase. There's the feeling that since we waited nearly a year for the pandemic to end, why not hold off for a few more months to see how things play out.

According to the LinkedIn survey, "When job-holders were asked about their motivations for staying in their current role, 74% cited some variant of 'shelter in job.'"

LinkedIn's Workforce Confidence Index study shows that collecting a steady paycheck (59%), enjoying a company's perks and benefits (30%), waiting for a more favorable job market (15%) and having no time or energy to make a switch (14%) are motivations for employees to stay where they are.

Respondents also said, in addition to sheltering in a job, other motivations included truly enjoying the nature of one's work (47%), applying or growing existing skills (24%) and building more expertise (21%).

There are, however, people who are dissatisfied with their current job, have a cruel boss, bad co-workers, aren't learning or growing and feel the need to move on to something new and better. 

For those who are in between jobs or unhappy in their present position, the survey indicated, "More than 60% of them are willing to switch industries or function. More than half are seriously considering going it alone—either by setting up their own business or taking a shot at freelancing."

Although people may deem this as a risky time to make a career change, Diana Y.K. Chan, career coach and job search and interview expert, believes where there are risks, there are also rewards. 

Instead of sheltering, she encourages people to remain proactive in managing their careers, stating, "I have found that those who are willing to make bigger bets are uncovering new opportunities or new roles."

Chan advises those looking to make a change, "Stretch out of your comfort zone. Try something new and act in spite of fear." She sees firsthand, in her line of work, how this fearless mentality proves to be meaningful and effective. "In the last two weeks, I've had over 10 clients land multiple job offers, making over five figures more. It's crazy," Chan said.

It will be interesting to see how things change once the vaccines are rolled out, a large percentage of people are inoculated and large financial aid programs, such as President Joe Biden's $1.9 stimulus package, are enacted. 

When this happens, businesses will quickly reopen. People will start feeling comfortable enough to get out of their houses and start living their lives once again. 

The result should be a big boom in hiring to meet all of the new pent-up demand. The people who were riding out the pandemic will refresh their résumés, contact recruiters, career coaches, in-house corporate hiring personnel and jump-start their job search. We could see the ushering in of a new exciting, positive era of job creation.

Research reveals how we really feel about working from home - Microsoft

Posted: 15 Feb 2021 01:13 AM PST

Workers in the UK are happier working from home but also feel more pressure to be always available to bosses, according to new research published today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a dramatic shift to remote working over the past year, with a large number of people in the UK working from home.

A new report from Microsoft Surface and YouGov, entitled Work Smarter to live Better has found that almost nine out of 10 (87%) employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid working.

This new way of working has given workers the opportunity to live life in a different way. Fifty-five percent now use their lunch break to focus on their personal life and 56% reported an increase in their levels of happiness working from home.

However, many employees said that they are being stretched further in the work they need to deliver. Nearly one in three (30%) reported an increase in their hours while working from home, and more than half (53%) feel they have to be available at all times.

As a result of these new pressures, 36% of those surveyed said mental health and resilience resources were the most popular options when it came to choosing training to build remote working skills.

Logo of Surface campaign showing a sofa and clock in a home

Employees miss seeing their colleagues in person, and the opportunity for social interaction is a key driver for people's decision to go into the office when guidelines allow. For the majority (65%), socialising is what they miss most when they work remotely.

Of those whose organisations have a formal working from home policy. Sixty-three percent disagree they didn't feel pressure to return to the office, even if guidelines allowed them to do so.

Although firms across the UK are currently taking a digital-first approach, few plan to have a 100% remote workforce for the long term. The likeliest scenario is that most organisations will adopt a hybrid working model, with the workforce split between working remotely and working in the office.

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the biggest homeworking experiment we have ever seen in the UK. However, this is not homeworking in normal times. Much of this experience has been enforced homeworking and many people have been dealing with a range of additional pressures and anxieties. It is therefore crucial that line managers ensure people are not overworking and provide flexibility and support to anyone struggling with any aspect of working from home.

"Senior leaders need to role model the behaviours they expect of others and businesses focus more on equipping managers with the people management skills they need to manage and support home and remote workers. Employers also need to do more to provide more flexible working opportunities to people whose jobs mean they can't work from home through greater use of practices such as flexi-time, job sharing and compressed and annualised hours."

A woman sits on a sofa at home, working on a laptop
Nearly one in three people reported an increase in their hours while working from home

The CIPD recommends four areas of focus for UK organisations and people professionals:

  • Support hybrid workers through good people management – Design work processes that suit all locations, concentrating particularly on knowledge-sharing, coordination of work and team relationships to encourage performance and innovation
  • Ensure fairness of opportunity – Provide ongoing access to development and career conversations for all employees
  • Put health and wellbeing front and centre – Ensure that employees are not overworking and remind them about the importance of maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing and taking regular breaks, fresh air and exercise
  • Offer a range of broader flexible working options – Go beyond remote working and look at introducing wider flexible working options like job shares, compressed hours and flexible start and finish times. Support flexibility from the start by recruiting flexibly and making the right to request Flexible Working a day one right.

Howard Lewis, Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft UK, said: "Flexible working has taken on a whole new meaning, with remote work suddenly feeling 'the norm'. Employees have been empowered to think about where and how they are most productive, while employers have been tasked with ensuring the devices they provide to their organisations are fit for today's purpose. The ability to successfully support remote operations and distributed teams is now indispensable for business resilience and innovation, with technology playing a vital part."

The Work Smarter to Live Better research saw more than 4,000 UK office workers surveyed online via a YouGov survey, in addition to in-depth interviews with senior business leaders from across the UK. The findings have been analysed in partnership with the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

Click here to download the full report.

To learn more about the results of this study, or to speak with someone about sourcing tools to help your organisation facilitate a successful hybrid working environment, visit the Microsoft Surface website.

The total sample size was 4,282 employees surveyed that work in an office, of which there were 2,863 that work in an office and work from home. Fieldwork was undertaken between October 27 and November 5, 2020. The survey was carried out online.

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