By: Alexandra Nguyen Rivera, SR/WA

The pandemic-era trend known as the “Great Resignation” remains a prominent feature of the labor market, as favorable conditions lead workers to quit their jobs at near-record levels in search of better (and ample) opportunities elsewhere. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 24 million American workers who quit their jobs between April and September 2021. In November 2021, a record was set when 4.5 million people quit their jobs and the trend has remained quite stable with 4.3 million Americans quitting in January 2022 and nearly 4.4 million Americans quitting in February 2022.

According to Ladders, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. “The pandemic serviced as a massive wake-up call for many, teaching us that work was more than capable of being completed from home, but showed the need for increased flexibility for employees to take control of their own schedules—a necessity for those with long commutes, pricey childcare arrangements and those who simply wanted to spend more time with their families,” says Ragu Bhargava, CEO at Global Upside. “The pandemic revolutionized the workplace and expedited an already growing need for remote workers.”

Although there are people who view remote work as temporary or unorthodox, the “old way of doing things” is no longer status quo, evolving with the needs of employees – and public agencies are no exception. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that telework hours comprised more than 80% of total work time for 24 federal agencies during the pandemic. These agencies are now considering future workforce changes that include (1) instituting more flexible work arrangements, (2) establishing or updating remote work policies, and (3) reassessing facilities and infrastructure. Related actions may include increasing the number of telework days for eligible employees and assessing agencies’ physical office space and workforce needs.

Based on conversations with colleagues from various public agencies on a more local level, it appears that most agencies are adopting a hybrid telework schedule where employees return to the office for 2 to 3 days a week with flexible hours. Is this what you’re hearing as well? What are you doing at your agency – returning to the office in a “pre-pandemic way” or adopting a hybrid telework schedule? Do you think flexible workplace environments will help ease the Great Resignation?

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