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The New Normal

The Future of Work: New Salesforce Research Reveals How Organizations Should Work in a Pandemic World

Survey results showcase the need to prioritize a work from anywhere mindset, adaptability and employee well-being through access to technology, re-skilling tools and workforce development programs.

Today, Salesforce published its first Global Stakeholder Series: Future of Work, Now research study – a data-driven look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping people’s attitudes about current work environments and their perceptions on the future of work. 

People are expecting positive long term change from their employers, and the data from this research provides insights to why organizations need to reimagine every aspect of their operations to move their business forward and positively impact society. 

Key insights from the research include:

Working from anywhere is the new norm, but more access to technology is needed

In a world where coming into the office as large teams is restricted and limited, companies and their employees have transformed the “traditional workplace” and have adapted to new working environments. The focus has shifted to digital-first engagements and experiences, while remote working has become commonplace across the globe. 60% of respondents expect working from home to become the new norm. 

Technology is critical for companies to continue keeping employees safe and businesses running smoothly. Over one third of non-remote workers globally say they do not have the technology to effectively work from anywhere. Non-remote workers are those who’ve either never worked remotely or who’ve already returned to the workplace under special conditions.

Employees know they need to adapt, expect companies to prioritize support in reskilling

As new ways of working become the new norm for the near-term future, employee focus is now shifting to personal development. In fact, 65% of employees believe that workforce development must be a high priority for businesses, and 70% say technology should play a major role within it. 

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This year has highlighted that planning can be difficult. Many businesses and employees are experiencing economic hardship, and uncertainty persists around job security. For this reason, workers have a renewed focus on reskilling. Half of respondents (50%) say they are more interested in online learning/training since COVID-19. The value of new skills is also becoming more commonplace in the eyes of employees, with 95% of respondents saying adaptability and 93% saying collaboration will be important skills over the next six months. 

Employee safety and well-being are paramount 

The effects of multiple ongoing crises – health, financial, and social – are taking their toll on employees. They have concerns around access to jobs, access to healthcare, racial inequality and worries about the environment. Increasingly, people believe that businesses should help move the needle on critical societal issues. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that businesses should make closing the gap on global inequalities a priority. 

Technology has the potential to help employees stay healthy and keep an individual’s well-being top of mind. In the current pandemic, around four in five respondents (79%) believe that workplace safety should be a high priority for businesses. 

Businesses have the power to be a platform for change 

Societal issues like racial injustice, income inequality and climate change were at the forefront prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to affect communities globally. However, as businesses get back on their feet, leaders are expected to do things differently to make long-term progress on these societal challenges. Sixty percent of respondents trust businesses to build a better future for younger generations, and are counting on them to do so, while half (52%) say it’s critical their employer gives back to the community. Value-driven businesses will be poised to not only survive, but thrive after the pandemic.

Global Stakeholder Series: Future of Work, Now methodology

Salesforce surveyed over 20,000 global citizens to uncover their attitudes and perceptions around the state of our world and the future of work as a result of COVID-19. The research is titled The Global Stakeholder Series: Future of Work, Now. Data in this study is from a blind survey conducted in June 2020 that generated 20,000 responses from general population citizens in the U.S., Canada, U.K./Ireland, France, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Australia/New Zealand, India, and Singapore. The data was weighted by age, gender, income and education to reflect the national representation of citizens in each country.