The top 2021 workplace trends you should know about.
Guest Blogger: BOOQED
We think a lot about the future of the office – how it has evolved, how Covid-19 has impacted the way businesses are run, and what trends we expect to see in the future.
So without further ado, here are the five trends we expect to rock the workplace in 2021.
This one probably isn’t much of a surprise. The occurrence of Covid-19 has meant that a large majority of the global population spent quite a lot of the past ten months indoors and social distancing, which has led to employees working from home and many companies downsizing their offices and transitioning to a more flexible, agile style of work.
We can expect this growth of flexible work to continue in 2021 and beyond for two reasons.
First of all, it is likely that social distancing laws remain in place as countries around the world keep fighting the pandemic. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s because this year has completely changed our perception of our work structure, so much so that this ‘new normal’ will heavily impact the way companies operate their businesses and the way offices are used in the coming months and even years.
According to a recent study by Cushman, 50% of the workforce will be distributed in different countries or places around the world. Once organizations have become used to having remote working arrangements, it will become easier to make flexible work the new normal.
The transition to agile working means that the office as we know it is going to have to change. But for the staunch pro-office people out there, don’t worry. A survey conducted in September 2020 by CBRE found that 81% of respondents expect at least half of their workforce to be based out of an office in the future. 73% support the idea of office-based employees distributing their time between the office, home, and “third places” – such as hotels, co-working spaces, or cafés.
Even the design of the office itself will change as the offices evolve to favor collaborative teamwork over individual work. Rather than have a long-term let in a centralized hub with dedicated desk spaces for each employee, an office will involve short-term leases distributed around its employee’s communities that more resemble a drop-in space for team members to come together for certain collaborative events such as client meetings, brainstorms or team building activities.
A mere few years ago, companies used to place a lot of emphasis on fostering employee engagement and creating a good company culture, you know – having an office packed with bean bags, gym memberships, happy-hour Fridays – and whilst they sound good on paper, they probably weren’t very effective at promoting collaboration or retaining employees in the long term.
Nowadays, thanks to the rise of job-hopping, companies are finding it more and more challenging to attract and retain talent. Therefore, being able to provide an exceptional employee experience can help give employers an edge but also motivate people to stay in their jobs for a longer period of time.
The features of a good employee experience are endless but can include offering flexibility in when and where teams work, reducing meaningless tasks, actively promoting a healthy work-life balance, and creating a more open culture where everyone is encouraged to contribute.
There’s already been a lot that’s been said about the digital transformation of the workplace. You’ve probably read at least one article about how Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption and advancement of technology in work. In fact, separate studies by McKinsey and KPMG have found that at least 80% of business executives previously resistant to digital transformation stepped up the use of technology in the past year due to the pandemic.
These technologies ranged from collaborative tools to AI-driven software, and are used to ensure business continuity, increase productivity, support team collaboration, and more. Now that business leaders have gotten over the initial hurdle of implementing these digital tools, we expect that teams are more likely to continue using them moving forward and that there will be tons of new and exciting technologies coming out over the next year as people adjust to this more agile style of working.
Several enterprises including the likes of Amazon, AT&T, and JPMorgan have made the move and committed to retraining employees over the past year or two. Whether it is to help stay competitive, address growing tech talent gaps, and avoiding the high costs involved with turnover, there are several advantages for companies, especially larger enterprises, to invest in internal re-skilling employee initiatives.
This year, Covid-19 disrupted the global economy, causing many companies to make layoffs right, left, and center while an increase in job automation and digital transformation catalyzed the demand for retraining. Rather than expanding teams, there will be an increase in internal mobility and rapid re-skilling to enable transferrable skills to fill new roles and ensure business continuity in the coming year.
Thanks to our partner Booqed for contributing to this content.