For companies to gain and retain talent today, they must shift their focus on how to ensure comfort and productivity among their staff, regardless of where and when they work.
COVID-19 has shifted the state of the workplace – perhaps for good in some cases. Over the past year and a half, organizations and employees have learned that, in many situations, jobs can be done efficiently regardless of one’s physical location.
This has led a number of companies to adopt a hybrid or remote work setup as their new normal, especially after observing impressive productivity rates and high employee satisfaction. According to ManpowerGroup’s 2021 Employment Outlook Survey, over half (59%) of employers are planning to offer flexible work options for the long-term, with 20% offering the option to work remotely 100% of the time and 39% planning to support remote work some of the time. 
How can companies continue to evolve in this new normal to attract and retain workers in both the short and long term? One of the most important factors is for organizations to understand the unique motivations of employees and ensure that they feel seen and heard when it comes to how, when and where they want to work.
From Roamers to Homers – new work personalities emerge
Seven new workforce personas are emerging post-pandemic, each with different needs that range across a spectrum of management, physical space, technology and socialization issues,  according to Grantley Morgan, Global Practice Lead and Vice President of Talent Solutions Consulting at ManpowerGroup. Understanding more about these personas can help organizations better adapt to create a more collaborative and productive work environment.
The Roamers are typically in leadership or field-based roles that require frequent travel. Hence their name, many Roamers split their time drifting between the office, various client locations and third spaces (e.g., coffee shops). Balancing work with health, well-being and family is important to them and especially so post-pandemic.
What they want: Companies can help Roamers feel a sense of security as they constantly settle into new locations to get their jobs done efficiently. This can be done by helping them manage traveling between workplaces by providing club-based access to flexible workspaces as well as creative options like Marriott’s work-from-anywhere day pass that enables employees to find quiet workspaces in destinations around the world. 
The Nomads have a goal of balancing their life and work goals while having fulfilling experiences and meeting new people. Nomads tend to thrive in environments that help fuel their extroverted personalities, and they feel more productive simply by being in the presence of others.
What they want: Nomads prefer a more flexible, work-from-anywhere set-up such as hubs and third spaces akin to Spotify's new model which allows workers to first choose a remote, hybrid or office-based model, then select which country and region they want as their base with support available for relocation and paid co-working members.
The Inventors appreciate in-person collaboration done safely. While technology has proven itself to be a useful workaround for client communication and team collaboration, especially during these times, Inventors are more likely to miss the office as a creative social hub. They would rather stick to the traditional methods of work rather than solely rely on their digital devices. They also appreciate spaces that encourage serendipitous innovation, learning and team-building in a way that technology can’t replicate for the majority of us.
What they want: Companies can cater to Inventors by offering a “hoteling” approach, a reservation-based seating where employees reserve a workspace before they come to work in an office. This enables small group meetings to occur safely.
The First-Timers are those who have very recently entered the workforce or feel like they have missed out on important parts of the onboarding process due to remote working. They believe that real, person-to-person connection is vital to kicking off a successful career.
What they want: To make First-Timers feel more at ease and confident in their careers, even for the time being, companies can designate physical spaces for in-person training and other learning opportunities.
The Commuters, previously committed to a traditional five-day work week, now expect greater flexibility in the workplace from their companies – particularly upper management and key decision makers.
What they want: Satisfy Commuters by adding satellite office spaces close to where your employees live, i.e., decreasing the amount of time they need to commute to and from work each day. Another solution is to adopt a more versatile model that allows workers to travel to the office only a few days a week instead of every day. Telecommunications company Vodafone created a zonal approach to workspace design that features dedicated spaces for different types of work.
The Front-liners, considered “pandemic heroes” by many, include those who work in supply chain, manufacturing, healthcare and other essential services. While their lines of work may involve advanced technologies, people in these industries must still perform their jobs in-person rather than solely behind a screen.
What they want: Since they’ve been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, Front-liners desire technologies such as bespoke apps like Beekeeper which enable workers to give and receive information without needing direct access to corporate systems. These tools improve the workplace experience and help alleviate health concerns as workers reacclimate to public transit and crowded places.
The Homers are masters of routine who prefer a fixed work location that provides them with better control of their schedules, productivity levels and deliverables – like a static home office. Homer's keen focus is a result of minimal disruption and having the ability to remain in the same place.
What they want: Companies can consider offering workplace benefits packages to Homers with state-of-the-art equipment and tools to make the at-home workspace comfortable and efficient.
No matter where one falls on the employee persona spectrum, it’s the responsibility of businesses to respond to their workers’ needs. Small companies and large corporations alike can benefit from embracing a more fluid workplace structure, as it helps provide an even balance and greater satisfaction among workers without negatively affecting the bottom line – especially in today's fluctuating economy.
Read Working Anywhere, Anytime during the Big Resurgence by Grantley Morgan for additional insights on these workplace personas. To learn more about how ManpowerGroup can help your organization adapt to the remodeled global work environment and to read more on this topic, visit the Future of Work.