The future of work has changed greatly after 2020. Throughout the year 2020, organizations and business leaders across the world were forced to navigate the pandemic, managing a hybrid or fully remote workforce, on top of social justice movements. For many, our perspective of work has shifted greatly, and employers will need to adapt to the shift for 2021 and the years to come.
So, what are some trends that will shape the future of work?
Increasing Hybrid Workforce
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the adoption of technology like artificial intelligence, the digitization of work, and automation have accelerated. According to Global Workplace Analytics, an estimate of 25-30% of the workforce “will be working from home for multiple days of the week by the end of 2021”. For the years to come, we can expect to see more leniency toward a hybrid work model. This will be especially common in sectors such as information and technology, finance and insurance, and management. A hybrid model would mean that workers will be allowed the option of remote or in-office work.
Employee Success – Output VS Hours Worked
As an increasing number of the workforce is getting used to remote work, we may see a shift in how work hours are approached. According to HBR, we can expect to see more employers offering flexibility in terms of the time worked. Instead of measuring employees by hours worked, we can expect to see employers measure employees, team success, and productivity based on their output and deliverables.
Increase in Contractors & Temporary Workers
With the uncertainty for the economy from the pandemic, the labour market is also changing. In the next few years, demand for freelancers and temporary workers are expected to increase. According to a McKinsey Study, 70% of executives are expecting to hire more contractors and temporary workers over the next two years.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Organizations are finally awakening, and committing to DE&I initiatives. If there’s a silver lining to 2020, it would be social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter. Following these events, an increasing number of organizations are renewing their DE&I commitments and are actively seeking change. For the first time, the Fortune 500 list will include rankings of organizations based on Diversity & Inclusion data.
Mental Health & Well Being
Remote work is a double-edged sword for many. While remote work has its benefits, Bloomberg reported that employees are working more hours on average and find it hard to “escape work”. On top of working more hours, there has been an increase in both internal and external stressors. Stressors such as financial stress and coping with current events have impacted the workforce greatly. In an Oracle study, “70% of people have experienced more stress and anxiety than any other previous year”. On the other hand, “76% of people believe their company should be doing more to protect the mental health of their workforce”.
What does it mean for 2021? Employers will need to revisit their policies and consider initiatives such as:
- Allocating a select number of days that employees can take off if they ever need a day to prioritize their mental health.
- Adjusting health care benefits, offering more options to support mental health such as therapy.
- Encouraging leaders to routinely check in on teams and employees.
These are just a few trends we can expect for 2021 and the years to come.
If you’re facing challenges with navigating your business workforce during these uncertain times, send us an email at [email protected] and let us know how we can help!
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