Ours is a society driven by work. Where it used to be the case that we worked to live, now we base our entire lives around our professional careers. It’s not hard to see why when we’re told since primary school to find a job that fulfils our passion, that anything short of extraordinary is a disservice to ourselves. But in the wake of the global pandemic, where the working lives we once knew have been upended and forever changed, it seems we’re now beginning to reevaluate our priorities. At least that’s what software giant Atlassian have found in their new survey on Aussie workers.
The survey by consulting firm PwC showed a remarkable shift in the priorities of employees who are now far more concerned about mental health and choosing to work from home. According to the survey, 74 per cent of employees agreed that it was jut as important for companies to be concerned with social issues as with their financial results, up 5 percentage points from last year. 37 per cent of participants also said they were prepared to quit if their employer acted in a way that was inconsistent with their values, an increase of 6 percentage points. As for the top issues listed by employees, mental health and wellness ranked first, ahead of access to healthcare and cost of living.
As Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes suggests, the pandemic has afforded a moment of reprieve. Whilst it has certainly been a time of great uncertainty and career upheaval, it’s also one that has allowed us to take stock of the lifestyle we want, the one we’re living, and what needs to change. “A part of that is, where do I live and what do I want to spend my time doing, but it is also I think going to cause them to reevaluate, like, the company I work for - at some level, what do they stand for? Is this the job I want? Is this the stress level I want? All of these sorts of things,” explains Cannon-Brookes to The Guardian.
He added: “It doesn’t surprise me that that’s going to result in people advocating or agitating, whether that’s to their existing employer or choosing to leave and go work somewhere else.”
The survey also found that since many of us have had to trade the office desk for the home living room, this has become the preferred mode of work. Of 1,225 Australian workers, 42 per cent of employees would consider changing jobs so they could work from home, rising to 50 per cent among Gen X workers. It’s something Atlassian have embraced, with Cannon-Brookes detailing that since the middle of 2020 the company no longer requires employees to ever set foot in the office.
“I would say it’s been highly successful here - we’ve still got a lot of things to do, but we don’t ever expect to mandate people to come back to the office again,” he said. “For all the people who want it to go back to normal, quote unquote, it’s not normal, the new normal is not going to look like it did in the past.”