2020 was a dumpster fire of a year that rocked different business and organization models. Due to how unpredictable the situation became all thanks to the pandemic, business owners and leaders had to change their priorities and plans to actively adapt to the changing environment. Many organizations were met with different challenges such as shifting to full-time remote staff, managing a hybrid workforce, responding to social justice movements, and what steps to take to ensure employees’ wellbeing.
Although 2020 changed a lot of things, it is nice to think that 2021 will be a year of stability. However, the fact is that it won’t be. This would be another year where many different transitions are expected to take place. While there’s been a focus on increasing the number of employees working remotely, there are some other trends that would surely shape work in 2021 and beyond.
#1. The shift from Employee’s Work Experience to their Life Experience
The current pandemic has allowed employers to look into the lives of their employees who faced both professional and personal challenges in 2020. It has been observed that when employees are helped by their employers in their personal life then this did not only lead to them having better lives but also increased their productivity. As per Gartner’s ReimagineHR Employee Survey, employers who supported their employees with their life experience reported having better physical and mental health.
This is why in 2021, employers will not mind giving other benefits that were previously seen as out of bounds such as support for financial and mental health.
#2. Companies Would Take A Stance on Political & Societal Debates
Employees are usually comfortable working in a company whose value aligns with their own. This desire accelerated in 2020. According to Gartner, 74% of employees want their employer to engage in different cultural debates. So, it won’t be long before CEOs start to take a stance on various issues just to attract and retain the best talent. But just making statements isn’t enough. As per a survey conducted by Gartner, 40% to 60% of employees become highly engaged when their company took an action on social issues.
#3. Employee Monitoring Would Become Limited
During the pandemic, not many companies invested in new technology to track their employees. However, it should be noted that not many of these businesses have made it clear to the employees about how they would balance their privacy with the new tech which has rightfully frustrated them. According to Gartner, 44% of employees did not get any information from their organizations regarding the data obtained about them. In 2021, it is widely expected that new regulations would be implemented which will limit the employers about what they can track about their staff.
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#4. Mental Health Support Would Become a Thing
During the last few years, managers have come up with different benefits to better facilitate their employees such as extended parental leave. Ever since the pandemic hit, the well-being of employees has become a pressing matter for employers. This is what led to them realizing how sensitive is the issue of mental health and how badly it could affect the workforce and their performance. Therefore, it is expected that business owners would take a step forward and will offer mental health benefits so that their employees could work at peace.
#5. More Flexibility
Many organizations have already given the freedom to employees to work from home. The next flexibility that business leaders could give their workforce is to decide when they want to work. According to a survey by Gartner, only 36% of employees turned out to be high performers who worked 40-hours a week. But this would increase to 55% when organizations give flexibility to their workforce over where, when, and how much they want to work.
Therefore, it won’t be a surprise if, in 2021, employers start to measure an employee’s performance based on his/her input instead of seeing if the individual worked for the predefined hours. It will also become one of the attractive points for the employees to get hired in such an organization that offers this flexibility. And with the help of staffing agency, they could find a perfect job that allows it.
While 2020 might just go down as one of the most volatile years in the history books, one would certainly be mistaken if he/she thinks that the disruption is over. Rather, you should expect the rate of disruption to accelerate in 2021 and beyond as the effects of 2020 will play out during the next several years. Also, what do you think of these emerging trends and would they shape the future of business for the better?