This Week's Herman Trend Alert

The End of Remote Work?
 

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 21, 2022

State of the Global Workforce

Every year, the Gallup Organization produces a global report on the state of the workforce. Their sample size is impressive; Gallup analyzed 112,312 business units in 96 countries worldwide. The Alert covers the six major developments outlined in Gallup's Executive Summary. During 2021, global workers were still being affected by COVID in a big way. Sadly, though effective vaccines provided some help for those who could and would take them, more people died in 2021 than in 2020. Some parts of the world had a limited recovery, while others were in more pain than the year before.

1. Global employee engagement and wellbeing remained stable.
For most employees worldwide, their work was neither meaningful nor rewarding. They did not feel like their lives were going well or feel hopeful about their future. Before the pandemic, engagement appeared to be rising globally, but then it stalled. Engagement rose by a measly one percent in 2021 but still stayed below its 2019 peak. And although global wellbeing also rose by one percent, this increase covered up larger regional differences. Case in point: while the Australia and New Zealand region saw a 6-percent increase in thriving, Europe saw a 5 percent decrease. Obviously, the COVID pandemic stopped the steady progress of the world's workers. "Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy USD$7.8 trillion and accounts for 11 percent of GDP globally." The unfortunate truth is that only 21 percent of employees are engaged at work and just 33 percent feel like they are thriving in their overall wellbeing.

2. Stress among the world's workers reached an all-time high---again.
There are some particularly interesting statistics in this category, because we know that there is a high correlation for stress with lower productivity and absenteeism. The Gallup report stated a global average of 44 percent of employees had experienced a lot of stress the previous day. The stress level set a record in 2020 and in 2021, the percentage went even higher. The stress workers experience affects the workplace. The levels of worry, sadness, and anger, all remained above pre-pandemic levels as well. Woefully, the stress levels reported by working women across the world were consistently higher than those reported by working men. In the US and Canada region, levels were even higher; there, 50 percent of employed women said they had experienced stress a lot of during the previous day.

3. Europe and South Asia were hit particularly hard in 2021 by COVID waves.
Feelings of thriving were particularly low in Europe and South Asia. Only 11 percent of employees in South Asia (including India) reported feeling like they were thriving, the lowest regional wellbeing in the world. Moreover, both South Asia (which includes India) and Europe dropped 5 percentage points in wellbeing in the past year. South Asia had the lowest wellbeing in the world at 11 percent. And not only were they depressed but they were also pessimistic about the fiuture.

4. In the US and Canada region, the job market made a remarkable recovery---but not elsewhere.
Globally, 45 percent of employees said now is a good time to find a job; that's up slightly from last year, but less than the record of 55 percent set in 2019. The regional exception for this item is the United States and Canada, which leads the world at 71 percent, up 44 percentage points from the previous year. The next closest regions are Australia and New Zealand at 59 percent and South Asia at 50 percent. Dragging down the worldwide percentage are the Commonwealth of Independent States (35 percent), MENA (28 percent) and East Asia (27 percent).

5. The US and Canada region remains the best region to be an employee.
Despite the numerous challenges facing employees in North America, including the fact that its employees are the most worried and stressed, the region also has the most engaged employees. Employees in this region number one in Employee Engagement and perceived Job Opportunities, while they were the number two region in Wellbeing and Living Comfortably on their household income.

6. Finally, Employee wellbeing is the new workplace imperative.
Across the globe, employee engagement and wellbeing remain very low, and those levels are hampering tremendous growth. Gallup's analysis reflected that our traditional ways of thinking about these elements are no longer valid. Gallup believes (and I agree) that how people experience work affects their lives outside of work. When employees burn out at work, they report that work makes it difficult to fulfill their family responsibilities. They are also 23 percent more likely to visit the emergency room. We know that wellbeing influences life at work. Employees who report being engaged at work but not thriving have a 61 percent higher likelihood of ongoing burnout than those who are engaged and thriving. With these levels of stress and burn out is it any wonder that 50 percent of employees report quiet quitting?

What Gallup's Findings Mean to Employers
Based on this finding of the connection between employees' work- and personal lives, Gallup recommends a holistic approach. Wise employers are already searching for solutions to address these issues. Companies like the group coaching app Ingomu are responding to these needs by ramping up the number of coaches addressing the topics of stress and wellbeing. Employers who actually find ways to reduce these critical employee issues will be rewarded with a stronger bottom line.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: The Economic Value of Happiness
This Alert is not about the new Harvard study on creating happiness; rather it is about the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, embraced by Bhutan that pioneered the concept. Since 1980, Bhutan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has shown an impressive average rise of 7.5 percent/year. Looking at the work of Nobel Laureate economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, I will explore the relationship between economic growth and happiness.

To download the entire report from which I researched this week's Herman Trend Alert, you can visit:
https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace-2022-report.aspx


© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 1.336.210.3548 or https://hermangroup.com. To sign up, visit https://HermanTrendAlert.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

FUTURES SHORTS: HERMAN TREND ALERT HIGHTLIGHTS IN A PODCAST
Every week, my cohost Rom Gayoso and I will give you the highlights of this week's Herman Trend Alert. Look for it on LinkedIn Live on Wednesday afternoons or on the YouTube on the IMCI Channel.

READY TO SET ATTAINABLE GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR?
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