March 2022

The New Workplace Employer Report

Presented by:
After over two years of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace we knew has transformed into a more hybrid and flexible environment with employers addressing changing employee needs with new policies and wellbeing benefits. In the second release of our New Workplace Employer Report, 459 business leaders share what their companies are doing today to adapt to the evolving workplace as the nation continues to grapple with uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Report Banner featuring illustration of employees working

Returning to the Workplace

The Omicron variant delayed workplace return plans for many companies, and although most companies have not nailed down an exact return date, this spring is a popular choice. Since November, there has been an increase in employers requiring some people to be in the workplace either part-time or as needed, which indicates that the Great Return is already in full swing.

Returning Strategy:
Requirement
Decision Factors
All signs point to hybrid work models being a staple in the new workplace. More employers are adopting a hybrid work model that allows employees to come into the workplace whenever they choose. However, most companies have only 1-10% of employees coming into the office, with the majority of them showing up twice a week.
For Open Workplaces:
Hybrid Model
% of Returned Employees
Frequency
Omicron Impact
For Unopened Workplaces:
Timing of Return
Omicron Impact

Employer COVID-19 Policies

With more than 65% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, most companies require employees to be fully vaccinated before returning to the workplace. Some people qualify for vaccination exemptions and most employers are willing to allow them to work remotely indefinitely. For employees who do not qualify for vaccination exemptions, most employers are undecided on what course of action they will take.

Vaccination Policies:
Requirement
Boosters
Exceptions
Non-Compliance
Policy Changes
COVID-19 Support:
Vaccine Incentives
Testing & Vaccine Access

Managing a Distributed Workforce

With more employees seeking to move to different locations, employers continue to expand to new states. Florida, Texas, and Colorado are the top states that companies are applying to do business in since the pandemic began. And while this movement is happening, most companies are not planning to reduce the number of office leases they currently hold. Although the new world of work is more distributed, a physical workplace still appears to be important to most employers.

Pandemic Response:
Expansion
Expansion by State
Office Leases
Most companies allow employees to permanently relocate to any U.S. state. However, more than half of them have seen less than 10% of their employees permanently relocate to a different state or country since the pandemic began. The West, Southeast, and Midwest have been the regions of choice for employee relocation.
Employee Relocation:
Policy
% Relocated
Relocation by Region
Many companies are evaluating their compensation model to ensure there is pay equity and competitive salaries to attract and retain top talent amid a tight labor market. As employees continue to relocate to both lower and higher cost of living/labor markets, most employers are not planning to adjust their salaries. That being said, large companies are much more likely than small companies to make such salary adjustments.
Compensation:
Relocation Policy
General Policy
Salary Adjustments (Lower)
Salary Adjustments (Higher)
As the Great Resignation continues with people leaving their jobs at historic rates, business leaders are paying close attention to employee turnover and retention rates. Over the last six months, a little more than half of the companies surveyed reported turnover rates of 1-10%, while more than a third reported 11-30% turnover.
Turnover:
Turnover Rate
Turnover by Time of Year
The pandemic forced physical meetings to go online and led to new norms of team collaboration. Overwhelmingly, most companies use video conferencing to collaborate over having in-person meetings. One third of companies have invested in new technology to enable team collaboration.

Employee Wellbeing

The physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees continues to be top-of-mind for people-driven employers. Companies surveyed are preparing to help their people return to the workplace safely by focusing on providing flexible work arrangements and more time off to keep employees happy and engaged.

While employers have increased employee wellbeing support services during the pandemic, most are unsure if these programs have helped improve employee retention. Work-life balance and burnout continues to be an area of concern for employers and they are responding by offering flexible time-off and more wellbeing services. However, adopting a four-day workweek is not part of most companies’ wellbeing strategy.

Wellbeing Stategy:
Expanded Offerings
Retention Impact
Burnout
Four-Day Workweek

Methodology

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sequoia has conducted ongoing research to understand how employers have adjusted to the evolving conditions of the workplace. This report focuses on employers’ perspectives about returning to the workplace, how they are shaping their COVID-19 policies, and their approaches to managing a more distributed workforce.

Insights from this report were gathered from a survey of 459 business leaders, who represent mostly-technology companies based in California, conducted in early March, 2022. Sequoia is committed to continuing research to understand the new workplace and share our learnings to help people-driven businesses make informed decisions about their people programs and practices.

Explore more

Compensation Report

Compensation

Are you compensating your people adequately?

Illustration of a highly-skilled worker

Talent Programs

How are companies finding and retaining talent?

Wellbeing Report Thumbnail

Employee Wellbeing

Are wellbeing initiatives vital to a total rewards strategy?