2020 has taught us tons of valuable lessons, none more important than the need to prepare for and embrace uncertainty. This lesson has carried through to 2021 in economic viability, health and also in workplace stability. Faced with numerous potential realities, companies must prepare for continued volatility and unpredictability – from how to and when to safely transition back to the office, to dealing with mixed workplaces as some employees continue to work and live remotely, permanently.
2021 will require businesses to think differently, iterate on new workflows and let go of legacy rules. There is no playbook as of yet but we need to reimagine it. We must reimage the new workplace, from how we do business and collaborate to how we engage and recruit talent. Below are the top five trends to watch for this year and beyond, that are changing the workplace.
- Virtual Recruiting is not Going Anywhere
Maybe one of the most important shifts that has been driven by the pandemic is the power of virtual hiring. According to a recent report, 81% of talent professionals agree that virtual recruiting will say post-COVID and 70% claim it will become the new standard. Those are some big numbers that cannot be ignored. Companies have dabbled with remote assessments and video interviewing in the past, however, the lockdown realities of COVID-19 have sparked them to create an end-to-end virtual recruiting process. In addition, they are embracing the time savings and resultant cost. It has also been suggested that a hybrid hiring process which combines in-person and virtual elements will soon become the norm.
- Access to Talent Pools Will Increase as a Result of Remote Work
It is not just the hiring process that is getting overhauled, there is also an incredible opportunity for workers that simply were not there before the pandemic. As remote work becomes increasingly mainstream, there have been predictions that we will see a democratisation of opportunity and spread of skills across the globe. Workers who may not have the means or desire to move to areas with high living costs will have access to new jobs and businesses will have access to different talent and skills.
- Employee Learning and Well-Being Programs are Essential
It has been suggested that burnout has hit an all-time high. To tackle wellbeing, it has been predicted that smart leaders will continue to dismantle processes and programs that do not add value and reimagine the basics of work life: standard operating hours, physical offices, the ways technology is uses and how meetings happen and why. Employee wellbeing will now be at the heart of these decisions. However, wellbeing does not begin and end with things such as resource groups and HR programs; workers across the globe are clamoring for more learning opportunities and education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many sought out online courses to advance their skillset and improve their CV. This is not expected to change.
- Greater Focus on Remote Work Security and Collaboration
Remote work is not going away any time soon. Therefore, organisations must adapt accordingly. Fostering community through ensuring collaboration, software and overall network security are challenges that business leaders must consider. They need to ask if their workforce is virtual or is it going to be a mix of remote and in-person workers. It has been predicted that companies need to seriously reimagine how they foster community in a meaningful and deep way across their entire employee base. While organisations employ many tools to allow for collaboration when working from home, more work needs to be done around tooling that supports this community building.
- An Opportunity to Reimagine Go-To-Market
Many industries have place huge value on face-to-face or in-person engagements for many years. While some businesses began to dabble in virtual best practices prior to the pandemic, this year has accelerated their adoption of all things virtual. Regardless of when we return to the way we lived before COVID-19, the adoption of virtual practices is not going anywhere. It has been predicted that industry conferences will be online-offline hybrids this year and for many years after, serving those who do not wish to travel away from home in addition to those who want to attend in person. In 2020, we saw virtual selling become a major trend and that will only continue. In the years to come, virtual selling will lead sales organisations and there will be more scrutiny on the real value of face-to-face meetings.
As we kickstart our 2021, we hope that these predictions will help you to navigate the opportunities and risks ahead. Planning for a highly uncertain 2021 while remaining flexible and agile will help you to maximise your chances of success. It is exciting to reimagine what the business world should and can be in 2021.