According to Dr Mark Bussin, an executive committee member at The South African Reward Association (SARA), work is not a ‘place’ anymore for around half the jobs in South Africa.
Bussin said that half of people do not need to go anywhere and can work from anywhere, following the fallout out of the global Covid pandemic and the response from corporates in South Africa to ‘work’ around lockdowns and efforts from the government to suffocate the spread of the virus.
Dr Bussin said that many jobs require people to go to a place to conduct work – including physiotherapists and dentists – however, many can sit anywhere and work.
“I predict that most firms, and companies and organisations, where work is not a place anymore will still have a hybrid approach, where people can pick one or two days a week, and they have it on a roster basis.”
This, he said, would mean less space for companies to have to pay for – to about a quarter or a third of the previous space required.
Dr Bussin said that policies around changing work requirements are already underway. He said remuneration policies are changing to revolve around outcomes and not inputs and activities. Outcomes-based remuneration policies reward employees who achieve specific goals. “What have you done, what have you achieved, what is the outcome,” said Bussin.
He said that job descriptions are being re-written from activities and long lists into outputs and outcomes, and that job evaluation policies are changing from many levels to far fewer levels to accommodate agile work teams and designs.
He said that performance management policies are also changing, as are leave policies, maternity, and paternity policies, questioning whether the latter policies are even required in the new place of work.
To prepare for this change, Dr Bussin said that companies need to understand this new landscape. He called on companies to be proactive rather than sit around and wait for changes to happen. “Listen to employees,” he said. Often they know more about what is going on than you think but don’t speak out in fear of losing their jobs.
A survey conducted by specialist recruitment firm Michael Page found that 83% of respondents expect that one of the most significant outcomes of the Covid crisis would be that companies will implement flexible work policies, such as opportunities to work remotely or to have flexible schedules, provide devices and so on.
Three-quarters (74%) also think there will be more respect for certain job roles (healthcare workers, retail workers, teachers, etc.), while 58% think there will be environmental awareness.
The survey found that 71% of job applicants think that working remotely will be more important than before at the companies they are currently employed with.
Having said that, even if they had the choice, many employees would still come to the office for a part of the working week. 37% would choose to work remotely for 2 days and 33% for 2 days a week, while 53% are looking at 3 or 4 days a week as ideal to work from home.
Apart from salary, culture and career growth are pivotal points for candidates considering switching into new positions. Top talent will also consider the flexible work arrangements companies can offer.
“Now more than ever, candidates need to be convinced they are making the right decision for themselves and their family,” said Julien Raze, director, Michael Page Africa.
Remote working increased dramatically
The question is if the companies will listen to their employees and grant their wish to work more from home than they used to do before the crisis. Because remote working was not all that common before, Covid forced companies to implement flexible work policies.
According to the study, only 26% of our respondents in South Africa had the freedom to work from home before the crisis.
Due to the lockdown, the number of employees working remotely increased dramatically, Michael Page said – 79% of the respondents worked remotely.
The only people not working from home were those without a job or with the sort of job that didn´t allow for remote working, for example, in a warehouse or store-based roles.