Reimagining the Workplace: Predictions for 2021 and Beyond
With 2020 finally behind us, the new year offers a chance to look forward with cautious optimism. While many of the challenges presented by pandemic have followed us into 2021, the promise of a vaccine offers a little light at the end of the tunnel.
The past year has taught us many valuable lessons. It has been a period of extreme uncertainty, disruption and difficulty; with adaptability and resilience defining how we now work and live.
In the world of business, preparing for this uncertainly and responding to change has become the norm. With offices closing, work forces furloughed and the needs of customers evolving rapidly, very few businesses were unaffected.
When it comes to the ways we work, 2020 tore up the rule book. What comes next will shape the ways we work for years to come. From wellbeing, recruitment and reimagining the 9-to-5, we’ve picked up a few new habits in the last year; many of which could be here to stay.
Digital Recruiting Is Here to Stay
Remember those all-important first impressions? It’s fair to say they look a little different than they once did. Instead of a freshly pressed suit and a firm handshake, the prerequisite to getting interviews off to a flying start is now a strong internet connection and remembering to unmute yourself.
LinkedIn’s Future of Recruitment report claim 81% of talent professionals agree that virtual recruiting will continue post-COVID, with 70% saying it will become the new standard. This makes it perhaps one of the most important shifts driven by the pandemic.
Companies are embracing the cost benefits and time savings too. It looks like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are here to stay.
Talent Pools Are Expanding
The hiring process isn’t the only thing getting an overhaul. The pandemic has undoubtedly reaped havoc upon business and recruitment, but there might be an ever-so-marginal silver lining for some: the talent pool is going global.
LinkedIn Chief Economist Karin Kimbrough sees incredible opportunities for workers that weren’t there pre-pandemic. As remote work becomes more mainstream, she predicts we will see a “democratisation of opportunity”, with people now having access to jobs they’d previously miss out on due to location. This opens up the talent pool for companies embracing remote working too.
Prioritising Employee Wellbeing
With new data showing that burnout hit an all-time high during the peak of the first lockdown, a tailor-made approach to wellbeing in the workplace is more important than ever. Now, employers are beginning to make people-first decisions; doing away with programs and processes that don’t add value and reimagining the basics of the working day. From how, when and why meetings happen to a rethink of office hours, down to demand and productivity, employee wellbeing will be at the heart of decision making. The most successful working environments will begin to prioritise a greater sense of purpose, team spirit and belonging.
With business leaders forced to rethink how companies will work in a post-pandemic world, one of the biggest questions they will face is where and when employees can work.
By the time it’s safe to return to the office, many workers will have spent a year or more working from home. With many growing increasingly content and even reliant on their new routine, it is thought that this flexibility will continue to be embraced.
Whether a split between working from home and the office, a rethink of core operating hours, or the introduction of a 4-day working week, all options will be on the table. Whatever the outcome, it could well spell the end rush-hour. There’s even a convincing argument that productivity will increase.
Working from home is here to stay, but maybe not as we’ve come to know it. Remote working has forced a rethink of how to foster community in a deep and meaningful way. While organisations were quick to enable working remotely, more is now being done to support community-building and that all-important team spirit. People miss people the most and the last year has proved the value of in-person contact. Whether through technology, training or shared activities such as lunch over Zoom, business leaders are working to establish a sense of collaboration digitally.
Whichever way the workspace evolves, we have a collective responsibility to our colleagues to foster change collaboratively, compassionately and with patience. We all have a new normal to get used to and a kinder, more considered approach to working culture will be to everybody’s benefit.