It’s been several decades now since Abraham Maslow’s theory entered the psychology field – the theory that every human being’s motivation is driven by a five-stage hierarchy of needs. The working world has drastically changed since then, and even more so within the last 12 months. As a recruiter or employer you need to make your staff feel as appreciated and as well-equipped as possible during this time.

So, is it time to introduce a new hierarchy of needs – one that relates to today’s working life, the 21st century, and this ‘new normal’?

The stages in Maslow’s original hierarchy consisted of (in order from bottom to top): physiological, safety, love / belonging, esteem and self-actualization. The idea was that needs lower down in the hierarchy needed to be satisfied before attending to the next stage of needs higher up.

A quick recap of the five stages of human needs (according to Maslow):

Physiological: This covered our most primal and basic needs like food, water and sleep etc.

Safety: Next was focused on our safety which covers our health, shelter and financial stability

Love / belonging: Once we’re satisfied with the first two stages, we then look for belonging in our lives – through relationships, connections, friendships and intimacy

Esteem: Then we work on self-growth and esteem through status, respect and recognition

Self-actualization: The final stage of the hierarchy pyramid relates to self-fulfillment which Maslow says is different for each and every person
The new hierarchy of needs for working from home in 2021

As more and more of us have had to replace face-to-face meetings in offices with Zoom calls, or office desks with kitchen tables, the work dynamic has changed, and this means our needs have too. Whilst our needs for career success and working equipment haven’t changed too much, the needs for the way we work, communicate and be productive have.

Cut to 2021, with a continued, pandemic-stricken world, with many businesses in work-from-home mode, business security solutions provider, Expert Security UK, thinks there’s a new hierarchy of needs to be considered:

Working equipment: To get on with a job, you need everything running smoothly, that means no internet disruptions, software crashes or faulty equipment – the basics to be able to do the day-to-day tasks. If your new talent isn’t properly equipped, they won’t be able to do their job, so get them up to date as soon as possible.

Security: We all need to feel safe and secure no matter where we are when we are working. If in work, staff need their premises and perimeters protected efficiently with things like electric gates, driveway security bollards and CCTV etc. And make sure their staffs up to date with cybersecurity when working from home.

Safety and hygiene: If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that we should never be complacent when it comes to hygiene and workplace health and safety. Businesses need to update health and safety policies that reflect best hygiene and social distancing practices to keep viruses and germs at bay. And when your employees are working from home, advise them not to let good hygiene standards slip, wash hands regularly and keep hand sanitisers around

Team culture: Once you’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to turn your attention to people. We all need good rapport and some in-house jokes and with many working from home, it’s even more important to keep that culture alive with good digital communication – the odd meme sent over the wires goes a long way! Making your talent feel appreciated in a great work culture can make the world of difference when motivation can get a little flat.

Career success: The ultimate goal and job satisfaction is achieving a position we’ve worked hard for and being rewarded for it. With this, your staff are going to be motivated by good personal and professional development. They need to feel valued and always be looking ahead to see how we can grow and develop. Make sure new recruits know you have a good progression plan in place and will give them all the support they need.