Seven in 10 employees report wanting more opportunities to develop their skills. 

According to new research by Right Management, a talent and career management solutions company, 70 per cent of employees surveyed stated that they wanted more opportunities to develop their skills after COVID-19.

This new research details that, as a result of COVID-19, lockdown and remote working, many employees have begun to rethink their relationships with their employers and reprioritising what is important to them at work.

The learning and diversity element of careers is a priority for employees as over half (52 per cent) of employees responded that they wanted more career coaching in the future. Over 8 out of 10 (82 per cent) of workers stated that learning opportunities are increasingly important to them in a post-COVID world.

In addition to this, after COVID-19, three-quarters (75 per cent) of respondents declared that they wanted remote working options and over half (54 per cent) wanted the chance to work virtually for an organisation that was based anywhere.

The main benefits that employees report from remote working were: not having to commute (56 per cent), spending more time with family (39 per cent) and being able to work at a convenient time (38 per cent).

In terms of the future, almost half (47 per cent) of respondents felt that pandemic and its effects marks the end of full-time work in the office.  Again, almost half of these employees (48 per cent) were happy about this. However, communication was very important to respondents with three-quarters (75 per cent) wanting consistent and regular communication from leadership.

A separate survey from Owl Labs, a collaborative video conference platform, actually found that almost half (41 per cent) of workers would resign if they were forced to return to the office full-time. In addition, almost half of those (45 per cent) asked would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant they were able to continue working from home in the long-term.

Bernadette Hampton, Principal Consultant at Right Management, said:

It is no surprise to see that the pandemic has had such a profound impact on British employees’ relationship with both work and their employer. With many employees being placed on furlough during the pandemic, there is a clear appetite to be given the opportunity to learn new skills, to help prepare them for the modern world.

Helping individuals strengthen their ability to manage in a fast-changing global economy requires a culture of learnability and a nimble mentoring approach. Encouraging coaching culture is crucial. It may be tempting to think that talent management is a luxury that can wait until after the crisis has passed, however the reality is that the shift to remote working has escalated the need for employee development training.

As a result of the lockdown, businesses have been forced to implement remote working overnight and this has accelerated changes in how work is conducted and how workforces are engaged.

Now the digital genie is out of the bottle, it will be impossible to put it back. Remote working looks here to stay. The traditional working day has been fading away for some time now – but the pandemic has really accelerated change. With many employees balancing work with childcare and education duties, we are seeing a shift towards output based working practises.

This means employees have more freedom to work when they can, rather than in a dedicated timeframe. Businesses must adapt to the changing needs of their employers or else they risk losing talent to competitors.

*Right Management surveyed 1000 UK employees in August-September 2020 to obtain this data.

** Owl Labs surveyed 2000 UK employees and this was conducted in mid-September 2020 to collect their results.