In the "post-Covid" world, the labor market is evolving under the effect of structural transformations, which the Next Chair, supported by the consulting firm Obea and the Leonardo da Vinci School of Management (EMLV), is committed to to analyze. Among these developments, the use of teleworking appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Thus, 22% of employees teleworked on average each week in 2021, with a higher proportion among executives (55%) residing in major cities, particularly in Île-de-France.
This trend should now become permanent. Indeed, we noted in a recent study that the ultra-flexibility of the organization of working time was an increasingly strong expectation among future young graduates. This had already been clearly identified by the human resources departments (HRD), as we had shown in a previous study.
To anticipate the future expectations of employees in relation to companies by 2030, a hackathon was organized with students from three types of higher education training (engineering, management and digital). 232 groups of students in interdisciplinary teams worked on their vision of the organization of companies in 2030 and a questionnaire collected the answers of 403 students.
According to the results of the study, 43% of the students surveyed spontaneously mention telecommuting and flexibility when thinking about the future of work. When students were asked about the evolution of different items related to work between 2022 and 2030, flexibility is the one that progresses the most with 15 points.
Then, the flexibility materializes and is projected at the level of the workplaces so that they are adaptable and modular according to the different types of interactions. During our study, one out of two proposals includes a workplace layout issue. This is reflected in the projection by the creation of modular spaces and to initiate a multiplicity of coworking spaces, but also situations of increased mobility and time spent on screens with the harmful effects that have been highlighted in several studies. .
The study leads to the conclusion that this demand for ultra-flexibility is explained by a very high need for individualization in management and work practices, which proves beyond a certain threshold to be a real paradox, the company being in essence "an organized collective". However, from the moment when future graduates ask for a very fine adaptation of the working environment, the operating rules and the content of the missions, we can end up in disorganization and tensions, not to mention the problems of intergenerational management, in particular at the within large companies.
This is also exacerbated by the profile of our respondents, who also pay particular attention to meaning and personal accomplishment. One of the drivers supporting this need for flexibility is explained by the desire to maintain a balance between professional and personal life, as well as a very strong need for autonomy and freedom in the organization (this last item is the one that progresses the most in labor representation between 2022 and 2030).
We also cross-referenced the results of our quantitative study with executives and HR managers. We have observed that some companies, such as LinkedIn, have completely reviewed their HR policy with sometimes radical approaches. The famous professional social network takes the position that employees will only stay for a few years (5 years is already a long term) and that each party must bring added value to the other in a few years. Employees recruited in France can thus be completely teleworked in any location provided that they remain in the French time zone.
Teleworking is a real catalyst for new managerial practices. Other companies, especially in hypercompetitive environments, take similar initiatives to be more attractive on the job market but also to retain the highest potentials. Orange, which was on the jury for the hackathon, for example, adopted an à la carte approach which allows its employees to choose the number of days of telework they wish to carry out per week in order to balance their professional and personal life.
These systems are also intended to fight against competition from start-ups, some of which have adopted a "remote first policy" thus offering the possibility of full-time teleworking for all of their employees and whatever their function.
One can wonder about the generalization of this type of managerial practices on a larger scale, but it is clear that the demographic projections are oriented in favor of future young graduates. This could also impact the way of considering professional trajectories which are less and less linear and certain indicators commonly used in HR services such as the turnover rate. Pôle emploi also estimates that young workers could change jobs on average 13 to 15 times during their lifetime.
* Sébastien Tran, director of the Léonard de Vinci School of Management (EMLV), Pôle Léonard de Vinci and Akim Berkani, researcher, Paris Dauphine University – PSL