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Companies are Rapidly Bringing the Future of Work to Life According to New Global HR Pulse Survey from Aon
Key initiatives include safely returning workers to office settings, defining new remote and hybrid working models, supporting vaccine adoption, accelerating inclusion and diversity programs and adjusting location-based pay.

CHICAGO, May 18, 2021 Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the results of a new global human resources (HR) pulse survey focused on the steps companies are taking to bring the future of work to life.

Aon conducted its pulse survey from April 20-28, 2021, with a total of 1,451 human resources leaders and professionals responding globally. Complete study results, across multiple geographies and industries, are available here

“The disruptions of the past 18 months accelerated workplace transformation like nothing else in recent memory,” said Michel Burke, chief executive officer for Aon’s human capital business. “This dynamic presents leaders with an incredible opportunity to align their business and people strategies to drive growth and optimize investments, and our survey highlights the areas where firms are focusing first.”

Companies expect remote workers to return soon, but not everyone and not every day

Globally, 73% of surveyed organizations already have expected return dates in mind for workers who left office settings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the largest share of companies (43%) expecting remote workers to return in Q3 2021.

However, companies do not expect everyone to return to the office. Globally, 44% of surveyed organizations expect fewer than 75% of office workers to return onsite once the pandemic is over.

Additionally, flexible or hybrid working options are on the rise, with 39% of companies expecting returning workers to spend only two to three days per week in the office, and another 13% of companies opting to give employees a choice in terms of how much time they spend in the office.

Of note, these figures rise considerably in the technology sector, where 61% of surveyed organizations expect fewer than 75% of office workers to return onsite once the pandemic is over. Nearly a quarter of technology companies (24%) plan to give employees a choice in terms of how much time they spend in the office.

Supporting vaccine adoption through incentives

As workers head back onsite, companies are taking a proactive and supportive approach to vaccine adoption; however, they are largely stopping short of mandates. Globally, only 5% of surveyed organizations currently plan to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees where allowed by law, with another 9% of organizations actively considering this approach.

Meanwhile, 33% of organizations are offering incentives to employees who receive COVID-19 vaccines, most often in the form of paid time-off to administer and recover from injections, and 56% of companies are actively educating employees on the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Healthcare companies lead all other sectors when it comes to vaccine mandates. Yet, even in this case, only 19% of surveyed organizations are making vaccines mandatory where allowed by law.

Future-of-work strategies and inclusion and diversity efforts are tightly linked

Focused on the future, more than three in four surveyed companies (78%) have one or more teams or taskforces defining, managing and implementing the future of work. In addition, 85% of organizations say they now have a clear and consistent definition for what the future of work means for their business or expect to have a definition in the next six months.

The three most prevalent issues shaping future-of-work definitions are rethinking company cultures, addressing talent availability concerns and boosting inclusion and diversity, cited by 98%, 98% and 96% of companies, respectively.

Looking more closely at inclusion and diversity efforts, 74% of surveyed companies state HR teams are most responsible for setting strategy and leading programs in this area. Additionally, 79% of firms have created or are planning to create inclusion and diversity metrics or goals to track progress.

Efforts to rethink location-based compensation continue

With remote work on the rise, 39% of surveyed organizations globally have adjusted, or are considering adjusting, geographic pay differentials as a result of the pandemic. Among companies actively adjusting pay based on shifting employee locations, 86% are re-examining pay rates using fresh market data and 53% are adding more granularity to the geographic zones they consider.

However, making adjustments of this nature isn’t without challenges. Top concerns include employee communication and the difficulty of adopting and maintaining market-aligned pay rates across numerous locations. In both cases, 67% of surveyed companied cited these issues as moderately, very or extremely challenging.

For complete study results, across multiple geographies and industries, click here.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

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This document has been provided as an informational resource for Aon clients and business partners. It is intended to provide general guidance on potential exposures and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Due to the dynamic nature of infectious diseases, Aon cannot be held liable for the guidance provided. Aon strongly encourages readers to seek additional safety, medical and epidemiologic information from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. In regard to insurance coverage questions, whether coverage applies, or if a policy will respond to any risk or circumstance is subject to the specific terms and conditions of the policies and contracts at issue and underwriter determination. 

This press release provides general information and data as an informational resource. Readers should not use this report as a replacement for legal, tax, accounting or other consulting advice that is specific to the facts and circumstances of their business. Aon encourages all readers to consult with appropriate advisors before acting on any of the information contained in this press release and accompanying reporting.

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