10 Remote Workplace Trends of 2021
Both 2020 and 2021 saw monumental work-from-home shifts. Almost 83% of companies perceived remote work as a success. (Source: Gartner)
Businesses reported an uptick in their productivity.
Pretty much every big firm like Twitter, Dropbox, and Shopify have moved to permanent work-from-home set-ups. Facebook, too, announced a switch to long-term remote work.
What we saw here was the world of work changing forever. We saw massive shake-ups last year. We moved past decades of 9-5 office hours. We embraced a digital-first work culture that’s flexible. We also saw a few key trends that are likely to shape remote work in 2021 and beyond. These include the following:
10 Remote Workplace Trends of 2021
- Cloud-based HR Tech
HR tech will become even more popular in the future. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a massive adoption of new, cloud-based HR tools. They automate repetitive HR tasks and process workflows. Right from screening talent, onboarding employees to record-keeping – HR tools take care of it all. They’ll soon empower HR teams with immense agility and free up staff to focus on the ‘human side’ of things.
- Hybrid Approach
For many companies, the future of work might be hybrid. This would involve a mix of work from home and office. The hybrid model might designate a few days for in-office meetings and collaborations and remote days for an assignment that requires individual focus. Ideally, this model would involve the best of both worlds.
The quick transition to everything digital has led to a surge in cybercrimes. According to a Cisco report, 82% of employers feel cybersecurity is now more critical than before COVID-19. As a result, companies are looking to secure data, apps, backups, emails, etc., to defeat even the craftiest cyber attacker around.
- Flexible Work Models
Today, employee requests for flexible work arrangements are commonplace. Many US workers currently consider work-life balance to be the most crucial aspect of their job offers. So, companies have started introducing flextime, compressed workweek, part-time schedules, and shift work. The result?
- Better productivity
- Reduced absenteeism
- Higher retention
- Happier employees
- Changing Performance Assessments
Since each remote worker is stretched in his way during this pandemic, companies are a little more lenient towards their employees. Hard work is appreciated, and poor performers are given a little more time to turn things around. There has been a shift to a flexible performance analysis model in which feedback is ongoing instead of annual.
- Demand for Reskilling
Companies are looking to reskill their workforce to emerge stronger from the pandemic. Upskilling is vital to improve resistance against threats in the current volatile market. Especially upskilling staff in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics, cybersecurity, and Machine Learning is the key to survive future disruptions.
- Asynchronous Communication
Companies are also preferring asynchronous communication. It allows employees to respond to messages and emails as per their schedule. It gives time for better planning and thoughtful responses. It’s here to stay because it gives employees the freedom to fit work into their lives and not the other way around.
- Respect for Work-life Balance
There is growing respect for work-life balance today. With the sudden transition to remote work, the risk of employee burnout has gone up. Therefore, companies are setting rules to avoid calls after work hours. Also, there is an increased focus to give employees some latitude and mental space, which will positively impact the workforce.
- Workforce Diversity
Bringing in a diversified workforce has become a priority for most companies today. Pulling people together from diverse cultures and backgrounds is an advantage. It invites fresh ideas and perspectives. A diversified team of workers is better prepared than homogenous groups. As a result, companies are hiring a diverse talent pool across geographies to bring in a culture of inclusion and belonging among all.
- Reduced Office Space
Over the years, we’ve seen workspaces transform – right from cubicles to open offices. However, in 2021 and beyond, we’ll see several companies bid adieu to large office spaces. Going ahead, we’ll see many organizations right-size their office spaces to cater to fluctuating needs in the future.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
The above trends are not only driving the growth of remote work but also getting stronger every month. Many startups have even started operating remotely from their launch. According to Gartner, over two-thirds (74%) of company executives plan to permanently shift employees to remote work even after the pandemic ends.
What’s clear is that remote work is here to stay. While the broader impacts of remote work are yet to be analyzed, initial research shows that remote work has improved business performance and employee retention. Therefore, companies that were not confident of operating remotely have now adopted this work model, realizing that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
However, some of the critical questions that still need to be answered are:
- Will all companies be able to pick the right remote work tools and techs?
- Will companies be able to integrate the tools into their existing system?
- How are companies going to fine-tune the tools to make remote work easier?
Well, only time will tell.