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Workplace trends are changing

Workplace trends are evolving now more than ever. 2020 was a year of uncertainty, to say the least. Life for many people all across the country changed in a matter of weeks due to the pandemic.

Perhaps one of the biggest aspects of life that changed is how people did their jobs. Many had to deal with adjusting to leaving the office and working from home, others were furloughed or laid off.

Despite the pandemic, trends within the workplace change often regardless. Just think of all the new technology and equipment that has come to light in the past decade or so. We live in a world now where some meetings can be a simple email.

Needless to say, the speed of workplace trends changing will be sped up in 2021 and 2022 due to the tumultuous year prior. Curious as to what they might potentially be? Here are 12 workplace trends we may see from now through the end of 2022.

1. Continuing to work remotely

This one should be obvious. The shift to working from home in 2020 set the stage for changes within the realm of workplace trends. This seems to only be the beginning, too. According to a Forbes article from late last year, the percentage of people working from home permanently is expected to double in 2021. 

This isn’t the least bit surprising. Working remotely became the way of the world in 2020 and many people have given positive feedback about their experiences with it. Many enjoy not having to commute, having the chance to personalize their in-home office, and having the chance to take more breaks throughout the day.

2. A hybrid of in-office and remote work

A hybrid work model is surely another viable option and some companies have already begun implementing it. It is essentially a combination of working onsite a few days per week and then working from home the rest of the days. 

This model allows for a healthy balance between the two work locations. It also allows large office buildings to cut down on overhead expenses since employees are only there for half the time during a given workweek.

Anna Convery-Pelletier, CMO at Radware, stated that having reserved days for onsite work would allow the planning of in-person meetings or team-building exercises in advance, and then any work other work that can be done remotely can be done as such.

3. There may be an increase in flexibility of time

Working from home enables flexibility of location, but throughout 2021 and 2022, we may see an increase in flexibility of work hours as well.

Harvard Business Review shared that a 2020 Gartner survey concluded that roughly only 36% of employees were high performers at establishments with a normal 40-hour workweek. On the flipside, establishments that offer their employees the opportunity for flexibility in regards to when, where, and how much they work see over half (55%) of their employees as high performers.

Employees are fed up with the monotony of the 40-hour workweek in the office and are ready for something new. It’s time for them to be measured by their output and efficiency. 

4. An increased number of freelancers and 1099 employees

The number of freelancers in the United States boomed in 2020 and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. A 2020 report showed that there were an estimated 59 million Americans that had freelanced in the past year. This is equivalent to 36% of the country’s workforce!

Some use freelancing as a way to temporarily make some side cash, but many are turning it into a long-term career. It is estimated that the number of freelancers in the US will exceed 90 million by 2028.

5. More mental health resources

Mental health is important and I think 2020 made us realize that even more. With all of the changes that were thrown our way, it’s understandable why some of us needed a little extra help and support.

Interestingly, Gartner’s research revealed that 45% of well-being budget increases were being allocated to mental and emotional health programs within companies. That number jumped even higher once the pandemic struck, and by late March, 68% of organizations introduced at least one new mental health benefit.

6. Members of Generation Z beginning to enter the workforce

If Gen Z begins with those that were born in 1997, then that means the generation’s oldest members are about 23 years old. They are more than likely searching for their first job after graduating from college.

Gen Z grew up with technology all around them, which is what makes them so different from previous generations. Learning new tech programs should be a breeze for them, especially in a world of remote work. It is estimated that Gen Z will make up to 40% of the global workforce in 2021.

7. A continued increase in virtual communication

Thanks to Zoom, Skype, and Google Meets, it is possible to have a video call or meeting. These communication tools were vital in 2020 and just might be the new norm.

Sometimes there are glitches and software malfunctions, but overall, these tools have introduced a new era of business communication. There is so much technology right at our fingertips!

8. A stronger emphasis on work-life balance

Let’s face it. Sometimes it is way too easy to get caught up with our career and it overshadows every other aspect of life. Having a healthy work-life balance is very key to avoiding burnout and is essential for our overall well-being.

Work-life balance can be defined differently depending on the person. In essence, it involves observing how people in the workforce manage time while at work versus outside of work. The “life” aspect includes spending time with family and friends, managing housework, and practicing other interests and hobbies. 

 So much of our time is spent working and it is only fair to even it out by doing activities we enjoy and spending time with those we love. Last year taught each one of us many lessons, but I think we can all agree that time spent with loved ones is time well spent. 

9. Possibly creating new positions that oversee remote workers

With a large percentage of the workforce continuing to work remotely, and with a strong chance that percentage could continue to increase, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to create new jobs that oversee remote workers.

Imagine an employee with a Director of Remote Work title. Their responsibility would be to manage remote employees’ efficiency and output by using tools such as Time Doctor, Timely, and TransparentBusiness. 

Many benefits are circled around working from home, but it’s important to acknowledge that some employees may slack and not be as productive since they don’t have anyone physically watching them. Being held accountable for their work will help to uphold the organization’s goals.

10. Putting extra effort into highlighting achievements

Remote work makes it more difficult to celebrate career milestones and professional achievements. There’s just something about being surrounded by coworkers that makes a celebration feel so much more real.

Employees that work remotely in 2021 and beyond will have to put extra amounts of effort into amplifying their advancements virtually to pave way for potential access to new opportunities. 

Showing a strong sense of leadership can still be done from home, however. Participating in virtual events, having high levels of activity in Zoom meetings, and being enthusiastic about work are great ways to do this.

11. An increase in cybersecurity

Ads for cybersecurity software are everywhere nowadays- on the radio, TV, etc., and for good reason. The shift to working remotely brought about increased demand.

A survey by Cisco revealed that 85% of respondents reported that cybersecurity is “extremely important or more important than before the pandemic.” Companies must reevaluate how secure their data, and the personal data of their employees, actually is and make investments to protect it. 

12. Business decentralization 

Many leaders of large corporations are realizing some of the benefits of decentralization and strategies of selecting corporate sites could look completely different by the end of next year. 

Until recent times, large corporations adopted a “fewer and bigger” approach in terms of their large office buildings. However, the pandemic brought about a new way of thinking. For instance, Amazon is investing $1.4 billion into offices in cities outside of Seattle. Such cities include Dallas, Detroit, and Phoenix. 

There is also a “hub-and-spoke” model idea, which means a company has a large office (a “hub” office) in an urban area and smaller offices throughout the suburbs (the “spokes”). This would be a very convenient solution for employees who live in the suburbs and want to shorten their commute if their company utilizes a hybrid work model.

2020 changed the way many of us work, but it also paved the way for new ideas and innovations within the workplace. Our world is ever-changing and the workplace must be as well. Which of these trends do you expect to see throughout these next few years?


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