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Mar 22, 2021 | ON Blogs

Marc Gasperino, digital practice leader at ON Partners, shares executive search insights on post-pandemic 2021 leadership trends

Written and published by Marc Gasperino, partner at ON Partners

Do I really need to be spending this much time away from my family?  Do I need to incur such a high cost of living?  Why can’t I live near my passion?  Questions like these are nothing new, but they are holding more weight for executives since the COVID-19 pandemic hit a year ago.

After speaking with over 20 clients and 60 executive leaders this past year, one common theme emerges – there’s zero chance they will be traveling as much as they did in the past and all are becoming more flexible with work from home routines.

As vaccines are rolled out in record time, we are starting to realize that getting back to our “new normal” is not too far away and many of us look forward to traveling and holding in-person meetings again.  Global lockdowns forced us to figure out how to do our jobs and live our lives differently and the silver lining is that many organizations that were resistant to remote workplaces have realized that in many cases it can be more productive and cost-effective.  Therefore, executives are starting to reflect on what is truly important to them and ask themselves if it’s necessary to sacrifice a healthy work/life balance for career progression.

The answer is no.  Executives are looking back and realizing that all the hours spent traveling and holding as many in-person meetings over the years was not as efficient as they thought and the realization that they can be successful in their roles while working remotely has changed the deliberation to the questions asked above.  Realizing one can do all or most of their jobs while living near the beach, their favorite ski mountain, or closer to family has caused executives to prioritize the question, “what is my job taking away from me?”  rather than “what am I willing to sacrifice for this job?”. 

Companies planning and adapting to the fact that top talent will no longer be required to forfeit income or family residence for career progression will have a significant advantage going forward.  Advancements in technology and the revelation that this global pandemic has shed light on the fact that our traditional workforce beliefs can be greatly improved should provide a better quality of life/work balance for all of us moving forward.

Want more 2021 trends from executive search expert Marc Gasperino? Check out his latest 2021 insights including “From CDO to CEO” and “The Hunt For Cyber Technology Leader Heats Up As Risks Multiple”.


ON Partners propels an organization’s mission by building C-level and board leadership teams. Founded in 2006 by like-minded consultants as a values-driven alternative to the multi-service global firms they were leaving behind, ON delivers a better executive search experience. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms and to the Inc. 500/5000 Lists seven times, the firm is consistently ranked among the top 20 retained executive search firms in the U.S. For more information, see our results here.