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Let’s start off on the right foot

“Life is an echo, what you give out comes back.” —Polynesian proverb


The skinny

A new report indicates that up to 25% more workers than previously estimated may need to switch occupations.

Good ol’ switcheroo?

It’s Gemini season after all. Stars aside, the report found that jobs with higher levels of physical proximity to other humans were most severely disrupted by the pandemic and are likely to see greater transformation after the pandemic. This shift will have a ripple effect and affect other work arenas as business models shift in response.

What do you mean?

Think about it. Frontline workers, on-site customer service, leisure and travel–work in these areas often have frequent interactions with strangers and require an on-site presence.

Ok, go on.

Sure. The pandemic forced many in these areas to migrate to digital solutions like telemedicine and a heavier reliance on e-commerce. This represents a major behavioral change that is likely to stick and in turn, increase demand for delivery, transportation, and warehouse jobs. Plus, with business travel predicted to decrease, the travel and leisure sector may be permanently changed. 

Don’t fly with me?

Maybe we Zoom, Zoom away? Extensive expansion and acceptance of videoconferencing during the pandemic has ushered in a new era. While leisure and travel tourism are predicted to rebound (vacci-cations anyone?), business travel is predicted to decrease by 20% which will have knock-on effects on employment in commercial aerospace, airports, hospitality, and food services.  

What about WFH?

Yes, great point. Perhaps the most obvious impact of COVID-19 on the labor force is the dramatic increase in employees working remotely. This is a lasting trend that can have drastic changes to the geography of work, as individuals and companies potentially say “peace out” to large cities and transition to smaller cities and suburbs.  

Cities are so 2019.

You may be wrong about that. However, this shift will obviously affect demand for restaurants and retail spaces in downtown areas, and even decrease the need for public transportation. So, many in these sectors may need to bust out their dream boards and reassess.           

I dream of transportation.

Well, you’re in luck. According to recent estimates, the largest negative impact of the pandemic is expected to fall on workers in food service, customer sales, and service roles, as well as less-skilled office-support roles. Food service jobs could fall by 4.3 million, while transportation jobs could grow by nearly 800,000.  


Tooting that horn. Before the pandemic, job losses were mainly blamed on AI and automation. But now, because of the pandemic’s impact on low-wage jobs, estimates now point to job growth and labor demand occurring in high-wage jobs.  

Need to get higher...

Indeed. Moving forward, more than half of displaced, low-wage workers may need to shift to occupations in higher-wage brackets, requiring new and different skills to remain employed.

Doesn’t seem like the best situation.

You’ve got that right. The most disadvantaged workers may have the biggest job transitions ahead. In Europe and the United States, workers with less than a college degree, members of ethnic minority groups, and women are more likely to need to change jobs after COVID-19 than before.

Key takeaway: Organizations need to focus on training and education programs to help influence and shape the workforce of the future.

Date with data: More than 100 million workers, or 1 in 16, will need to find a different occupation by 2030.  

Totes quotes: “Traditionally in Europe and in the US, people would go from, say, a food-service job to a hotel job and then maybe to a retail job. That would now mean moving from one declining occupation to another. We will need to figure out how to help them transition to different career pathways. This will disproportionately affect women—four times as many as men—and people without college degrees, as well as young people and ethnic minorities.” —Susan Lund, McKinsey Global Institute, leader and expert in global labor markets.

The skinny

Organizations are clear that post pandemic work will be hybrid. After that, the details get hazy.

The best details are hazy.

Hmm, maybe for some. But with 9/10 organizations saying they plan on going hybrid, the devil will be in the details.

What do you mean?

Well, for organizations to continue to capitalize on productivity gains, putting thought and intention behind how the hybrid model will work is going to be key to prevent employee stress and burnout.

(Meryl Streep voice) Why is no one ready?

Unsure. But it seems like a lot of orgs are flying by the seat of their pants, 68% of organizations have no detailed plan or communication strategy in place for creating and maintaining a hybrid workplace.

So, what are best practices?

It looks like encouraging “microtransactions” between coworkers and leaders seems to work to help create and maintain connection and culture. But supporting small moments of connection requires subtle shifts in how managers work.  


In a good way. Managers need to be educated on how they can have a positive and negative impact on the people who report to them, by training managers on soft skills, such as providing feedback and receiving feedback, managers will have a huge part in maintaining a successful hybrid workplace.

Date with data: 6.9% of jobs posted on Indeed in Feb. 2021 are for remote positions vs. just 2.9% in Jan. 2020.  

Double date: On average, people are working an additional 2.5 hours per week.

Totes quotes: “Keeping executives out of the office sends the right signal that the office is not the epicenter of power. The office is not the place where you come to get promoted.” —Darren Murph, head of remote work culture at GitLab.

Further reading: Don’t let employees pick their WFH days.


The skinny

There should be an acute balance between socializing and being alone.

No way.

It’s true. Unless you want to wear permanent grumpy pants, you should focus on how you’re feeling and when. Many people who have been sheltering in place with others might not realize that their irritability and stress could be tied to lack of alone time.  

But my social calendar is full.

Yes, now that things are opening back up, many are going all out. Which isn’t a bad thing. We’ve been cooped up for more than a year—without hugs, without that low, comforting din of a full restaurant, without seeing movies. We deserve some all-out fun!  

Letting it all hang out!

But, remember we can love seeing others, and love it when they leave, too. And quick shout out to all the parents! Sometimes alone time is the best present for any occasion. Allowing someone 24 hours of rest, or even just a few undisturbed hours of alone time can change everything for the better. It’s restorative to do nothing, and to be granted the ability to do nothing is a loving act.  

Totes quotes: “A day of total freedom is both an opportunity to connect with your individual self, and helps foster feelings of empowerment, which is a powerful antidote to the helplessness that a lot of us have felt during the pandemic. It expands your recently narrowed comfort zone by reminding you that you’re capable and independent.” —Jodie Eisner, clinical psychologist, New York

Further reading: 43 Fun Things to Do by Yourself.

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