COVID-19 has turned the world on its head and has inverted the conventional paradigms of our existence. One of these paradigms is related to how to work. Many of us have spent most of 2020 separated from our colleagues and logging in to regularly greet each other from living spaces, bedrooms, or other cobbled places. Thus, remote working is becoming a common part of life.
However, the debate about remote work is over; now it’s time for managers to set new goals for managing the workforce in 2021. Many team members have never met in person and may never work side by side. Some employees have joined the company via zoom and connected with colleagues via laptop screen.
HR professionals and managers need to gear up new challenges and new tactics for communicating with workers day-to-day. Though it has been a tremendously challenging year for everyone, there have been certain positive developments in our work patterns as employees’ flexibility, and well-being became the foremost priority for organizations.
As we are in the new decade, we have various powerful tools and technologies at our disposal. Equipped with these, businesses are looking at ways to carry forward the changes brought in by 2020 and turn them into positive working ways. Here are some predictions for 2021 that bring into perspective the future of work.
Technology to Lead Training
In the future, AI and automation will play a significant role in how team members learn new skills and technologies. The benefit of using the modern tech in training modules is the flow of learning that provides employees the requisite tools to solve issues swiftly while working. Consequently, they can return to their work with minimal disruption.
With this type of learning, employees don’t need to sit through long training videos or attend any in-person sessions in person, which may require a commute. Apart from this, teams can get engaged remotely, and for this purpose, AI-powered training platforms are expected to help.
Engagement is the New Productivity
Since the beginning of the SaaS era, billions of dollars have been invested in technology solutions that offered productivity improvements in enterprises. Several startups built by providing these solutions are now publicly traded companies such as Asana and Slack, and even more solutions in the space have come from giants like Microsoft and Google. Now companies are making a shift from being productive to engaging.
Engagement is different from productivity; it refers to the passion employees have for their jobs and their connection to their teams. In remote and hybrid work, a high engagement level will be the competitive advantage in building products, creating customer loyalty in a crowded landscape, and attracting talent.
Hybrid Work Presents New Challenges to Unequipped Teams
Many enterprises gradually begin phasing teams back into the office by adopting hybrid strategies that combine remote and in-office work. Hybrid work is an excellent compromise to protect employees with health concerns.
To migrate these effects, companies can embrace a culture of asynchronous sharing to substitute many of the status and other routine meetings that fill up employees’ calendars.
For real-time meetings and brainstorms, organizations must make sessions interactive so that virtual attendees can participate with just a bit of friction. Companies can use collaborative craft practices inclusive to remote workers, such as holding meetings entirely virtually even if they are in the office.
Well-being Is A Major Concern
One of the major concerns is an employee’s health and well-being above anything else. The level of stress, mental illness, and burnout in several workplaces are unacceptable. With workplaces being rethought around the notion that employees are working from home in this pandemic situation.
In the remote work future, businesses need to think about how they can recapture the benefits of having a shared space to communicate and collaborate. They need to find intuitive ways of combining technology with empathetic leadership skills. Not just to boost productivity but to counter the isolating effects of working from home long-term.
In 2021, the focus on well-being is significant but requires more than just technology. Companies must think about the leader and line manager’s role in genuinely caring for their people’s well-being and needs to be embedded in the organization’s culture.
Furthermore, several firms out there are making adequate provisions to assure that their employees are mentally healthy, happy, and satisfy while working from home.
Updating Retention Strategies
Now, people have options about where and how to work; companies will need to reevaluate their operations, future of business, and company culture. Businesses are expected to eliminate traditional workplace requirements and empower employees to work wherever they are most effective and comfortable.
Most of the business have invested in the right technologies to keep employees connected and working together. Moreover, companies provide other benefits like unlimited PTO, stipends, or opportunities to work from rented homes.
Another benefit of these strategies is that the dispersed staff can help companies build stronger customer relationships by being closer to the customers’ communities. It also enables them to establish connections with technical communities globally.
Agile Businesses Value Freelancers
Remote work can crucially affect the distribution of the workforce geographically. As businesses have become comfortable working remotely, they have realized the value of working with freelancers.
As agility is expected to be the top-most priority for multiple firms in these uncertain times, hiring workers on a paid or per-gig basis will become more attractive than on-board salary as remote work cost less in 2021.
Businesses are looking at this as a win-win situation for both freelancers and companies being taken on board. Several online platforms like Aspired.io help enterprises build their best remote team and hire efficient remote freelancers online.
Tech-Empowered Remote Work
The pandemic situation has made work from home the new normal for companies as offices shut down to curb the virus’s spread.
Many enterprises have invested heavily in technologies and related tools such as collaboration tools, machine learning (ML), video conferencing, and artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively support the remote workforce. Although tech and remote work come with their challenges when combined.
Organizations face the possibility of data breaches or threats to supply chains globally. In contrast, many employees have been receptive to the flexibility that remote work offers. Numerous are still craving collaboration, networking, and innovation.
In 2021, employers will recreate the workplace magic virtually by thinking of ways to combine retail, office, and other such services on a single platform.
Remote Hiring and Talent Acquisition
Video interviews and remote assessments were also a part of the recruitment process before the pandemic hit. But these digital tools became the foundation base for hiring and on-boarding in 2020 under new realities that took shape in COVID-19 induced lockdowns.
The Future of Work!
The year 2020 has been specifically tough and an uncertain year, but these challenges have taken shape and are acting as catalysts for reform. To develop talent, organizations need to be deliberate and proactive in 2021.
Companies must build mentorship programs. Managers should give employees time to ensure that they are learning the ropes and ultimately mastering their jobs to take on new remote working challenges. In this way, enterprises can get success with a remote workforce.
The predicted trends for the workplace of 2021 are inclined towards inclusivity and employees’ well-being in a shift-based workforce.