Work Trends – Preparing for Change



Teresa Black Hughes

Financial Advisor & Portfolio Manager


The employment landscape is changing. 

  • An aging demographic means more Canadians will be exiting the workplace and heading into retirement.Employers have a need for more skilled workers.
  • Covid has changed the way both employees and employers are looking at the work environment.There is a need to balance employers’ needs with employee productivity and satisfaction.

Whether a change of employment is a matter of choice, or is thrust upon you, there are a few things to consider.  After all, preparedness is one of the best ways to reduce stress. 

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) published an article (January 14, 2021) entitled 9 Trends That Will Shape Work In 2021 And Beyond.  The common theme among the changes for both employers and employees’ expectations, is being mindful of one’s whole person – their work from home comfort, managing productivity, active engagement in cultural debates of the day and a healthy mental and physical state. 

“Better mental health and better physical health increase the number of high performers.  The pandemic gave business leaders increased visibility into the lives of their employees.”

Sources have cited a potential wage gap between employees who work from the office and those who work from home.  Google indicated that they may cut pay for those working from home.  Others have said they may increase pay for those working in the office.  Either way, it boils down to engagement and productivity in the workplace. 

In contrast, the HBR predicts that the next wave of flexibility in the workplace will be when the employees are expected to work. Rather than setting the time and monitoring the employee, it will be about monitoring productivity. 

To de-stigmatize mental health, the HBR also predicts that in 2021, employers will go even further by expanding mental health benefits, creating days where they shut the entire company down for a day to offer “a collective mental health day”.

Change can be healthy.  For both employees and employers, “smart trust” and an open dialogue are necessary to work through the trials of change.  Not every position requires a highly skilled individual, but every position deserves care, respect and encouragement. 

Dr. Henry Cloud, leadership expert, psychologist, and best-selling author - When you encourage someone, it literally changes their brain chemistry to be able to perform . . . sends fuel to the brain. 

If change is upon you, here are some things to do:

  • Make a budget and look at ways you can adjust your lifestyle expenses, especially if your take-home income will be less
  • Take a breather – a little time off to reflect and re-evaluate your next chapter
  • Make an inventory of the benefits offered by your current employer and future employer

Benefits include pensions, group RSPs, DPSPs, stock options, non-tangible benefits such as the paid parking spot at work, and of course, your health and dental benefits.  You may be entitled to a termination or severance package.  The transferring, cashing-out, rolling-over of many of these can have tax consequences.  There may be timing considerations for applying for government benefits, staggering a sever]ance, or making healthcare claims.  At this stage, it’s a great time to talk with your financial advisor.  They can help you look at the impact to your cash personal flow, tax situation, and fulfillment of your goals.  As Noel Gallagher said, I don’t live to work, I work to live.   

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of RGF Integrated Wealth Management, which makes no representations as to their completeness or accuracy.

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