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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the The Impact of the Modern Workplace US market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly all aspects of life in the US, and work is no exception. The lockdown phase of the pandemic (March-June 2020) gave way to two new classifications of work: essential workers and remote workers.

Within both types of work, daily life significantly changed, impacting not just work procedures and operations but also people’s routines and habits as consumers. The subsequent impact on brands and companies is two-fold. First, as employers, companies have a responsibility to help and support their employees during this extended period of change. Second, as consumer-facing organizations, brands must understand how workplace changes are influencing how people shop and spend.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Lisa Dubina, a leading analyst in the Culture and Identity sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

COVID-19 has significantly changed what the modern workplace looks like for Americans, including where and how they effectively work. The modern workplace was already in flux prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 has accelerated several workplace trends, including the ubiquity of remote work, the reliance on technology to support a virtual office space and the heightened attention to workers’ rights. These fast-tracked changes will have a lasting impact on workplace culture as well as Americans’ daily consumption patterns.
Lisa Dubina
Senior Culture and Identity Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: COVID-19 employment situation, October 2020
                  • Figure 2: Future of work expectations, October 2020
                  • Figure 3: Financial situation, by COVID-19 work situation, October 2020
                • Impact of COVID-19 on the modern workplace
                  • Figure 4: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the modern workplace, November 2020
                • Challenges
                  • Remote work has redefined many Americans’ daily lifestyle
                    • Figure 5: Work-from-home habits, October 2020
                  • Brands’ treatment of essential employees is top of mind for many Americans
                    • Figure 6: Essential workers, by COVID-19 work situation, October 2020
                  • Opportunities
                    • Employer strategies must adapt to best support their employees
                      • Brand strategies must shift to meet consumers’ new work-from-home habits
                        • Figure 7: Priority Pillars for the Mintel Trend Drivers Technology and Wellbeing, December 2020
                    • The Market – Key Takeaways

                      • COVID-19 has impacted Americans’ work-life in a range of ways
                        • Office workers will likely experience more long-term changes
                          • Brands need to pivot to address new work-from-home needs and routines
                          • The Landscape of Work

                            • Work during the COVID-19 pandemic
                              • Figure 8: COVID-19 employment situation, October 2020
                            • Remote work is new for the majority of Americans but likely to continue for the time being
                              • Figure 9: Remote status, October 2020
                              • Figure 10: Future of work expectations, October 2020
                            • Remote workers skew male, urban-dwelling and affluent
                              • Figure 11: COVID-19 remote workers, by select demographics, October 2020
                            • Defining essential workers
                              • Over a quarter of essential workers are in the healthcare industry
                                • Figure 12: Essential workers’ industry, October 2020
                              • Essential workers skew rural, young or middle-aged and less affluent
                                • Figure 13: COVID-19 essential workers, by select demographics, October 2020
                              • Remote workers feel more financially secure than essential workers
                                • Figure 14: Financial situation, by COVID-19 work situation, October 2020
                            • Market Factors

                              • Impact of COVID-19 on the modern workplace
                                • Figure 15: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, October 2020
                              • Lockdown
                                • Reemergence
                                  • Recovery
                                    • Economic challenges
                                      • Learnings from the last recession
                                        • Figure 16: Personal Savings Rate, percentage, monthly, seasonally adjusted annual rate, Oct 2006-Oct 2020
                                      • Employment rate
                                        • Figure 17: Unemployment, January 2007-October 2020
                                      • Consumer confidence
                                        • Figure 18: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-October 2020
                                    • Market Opportunities

                                      • Provide home office equipment and setup
                                        • Computer accessories and internet connectivity are a top draw
                                          • Figure 19: Verizon Business virtual meeting performance tips
                                        • Create bundles and same-day distribution to simplify shopping experience
                                          • Figure 20: Desired company-provided items, by COVID work-from-home situation, October 2020
                                        • Shift product offerings to meet new consumer habits
                                          • Move away from formal
                                            • Figure 21: Express fall campaign: October 2019 vs October 2020
                                          • Repositioning beauty as wellness
                                            • Figure 22: Maybelline’s Brave Together virtual meet-up
                                          • Highlight escape and indulgence
                                            • Figure 23: Work-from-home habits, October 2020
                                        • Remote Work: In Their Own Words

                                            • Remote workers are grateful despite the extreme change
                                              • Productivity has increased while working from home
                                                • However, the lines between work and life have been significantly blurred
                                                • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                  • Not all Americans feel their work defines who they are
                                                    • Americans expect a lot from their jobs
                                                      • The impact of remote work varies by gender and ethnicity
                                                        • Americans are mindful of brands’ DEI efforts and employee treatment
                                                        • Work and Personal Identity

                                                          • Americans take pride in their work, but it doesn’t necessarily define them
                                                            • Figure 24: Pride in work, by COVID work situation, October 2020
                                                          • Remote workers are more likely to view work as an action, not a place
                                                            • Figure 25: Work as a place, by COVID work situations, October 2020
                                                          • Pride and sense of self in work rises and falls with age
                                                            • Figure 26: Pride in work, by age, October 2020
                                                          • Black Americans have less pride in and fulfillment from their work
                                                            • Figure 27: Pride in work, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, October 2020
                                                          • A quarter of essential workers do not feel their work is respected
                                                            • Figure 28: Respected by others, by select demographics, October 2020
                                                          • Nearly half of essential workers feel they are not properly compensated for their work
                                                            • Figure 29: Work compensation, by select demographics, October 2020
                                                          • Yet, the majority of Americans feels their work enables them to have the lifestyle they want
                                                            • Figure 30: Perception of work and lifestyle, October 2020
                                                        • Work Priorities

                                                          • Americans expect a lot from their ideal job
                                                            • Figure 31: Ideal job qualities, October 2020
                                                            • Figure 32: Ideal job qualities, count of priorities, October 2020
                                                          • Those who can afford it prioritize work-life balance over salary
                                                            • Figure 33: Work-life balance, by COVID-19 work situation, by race and Hispanic origin, October 2020
                                                          • The importance of remote work depends on stage of life
                                                            • Figure 34: Prioritizing remote work, by COVID work situation, by age, October 2020
                                                          • Remote workers may just want to stay home, not travel the world
                                                            • Figure 35: Importance of remote work, by COVID work situation, by age, October 2020
                                                        • Remote Work and Consumer Habits

                                                          • Remote employees miss their co-workers, but not their commute
                                                            • Figure 36: Work-from-home habits, October 2020
                                                          • Women’s consumer behavior is more impacted by remote work than men’s
                                                            • Figure 37: Work-from-home habits, by gender, October 2020
                                                          • Brand spotlight: Gap Inc.
                                                            • Figure 38: Remote workers turn to brands like Athleta for all-day comfort
                                                          • White Americans have changed their behaviors more than Black and Hispanic Americans
                                                            • Figure 39: Work-from-home habits, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, October 2020
                                                          • Remote workers aged 25-34 years old feel they have too many virtual meetings and miss their commute
                                                              • Figure 40: Work-from-home environment, by age, October 2020
                                                          • Employee Treatment and Diversity

                                                            • The treatment of essential workers is top of mind for consumers
                                                              • Figure 41: Essential workers, by COVID work situation, October 2020
                                                            • More than half of Americans feel their employer promotes workplace diversity and inclusion, but there’s still room for improvements
                                                              • Figure 42: Workplace diversity, by COVID work situation, October 2020
                                                              • Figure 43: Workplace diversity, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, October 2020
                                                          • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                            • Companies can provide employees with safety and support
                                                              • Brands can shift to better fit into the modern workplace
                                                              • Mintel Trend Drivers

                                                                  • Wellbeing
                                                                    • Figure 44: Priority Pillars for Mintel’s Trend Driver Wellbeing
                                                                  • Technology
                                                                    • Figure 45: Mintel’s Trend Driver Technology
                                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                                  • Employer strategies
                                                                    • Companies lower overhead and meet employees’ preferences by going remote full-time
                                                                      • Figure 46: REI sells never-been-used Seattle headquarters
                                                                    • Software solutions support virtual office culture
                                                                      • Figure 47: Donut launches WaterCooler
                                                                    • Ride-sharing benefits and stipends may help alleviate commuting concerns
                                                                      • Brand strategies
                                                                        • Shift foodservice benefits to remote workers
                                                                          • Offer a relaxed version of business casual
                                                                            • Figure 48: Everlane’s dream coat and pant
                                                                          • Encourage business travel with safety information and updates
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                  • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Terms

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