It’s fair to say that the traditional workplace as we know it might never return. For better or worse, the circumstances surrounding the events of 2020 have caused a ramped-up version of the inevitable transition towards remote employment and a digitized world. Even in the industries that have to report to work in-person, tech trends still had to evolve sooner than expected for employees’ safety and efficiency. Here are a few workplace trends that might occur looking at 2021 and beyond.
The number of knowledge workers who switched to telecommuting escalated from three percent to over 70 percent last year. This number will no doubt decrease, but not for the reasons people originally predicted. Over time, many companies realized they could save on rent and maintenance, leading to a more generous approach to continuing telecommuting. However, human beings are social creatures, and after spending nearly a year in isolation, people are craving the social aspect of being in a face-to-face working environment, even if it’s on a part-time basis. Nearly ¾ of workers would be open to a balance of home and office working conditions, with most millennials and Generation Z favoring the in-person aspect. Companies, therefore, need to adapt their physical workspaces to allow for this change.
The digital workplace is going to be the new buzzword to define modern versions of tomorrow’s office. Organizations that lean into the certainty of on- and off-site teams will benefit from embracing technology. Trends surrounding future office spaces will provide relaxing zones for groups to socialize and connect in a more relaxed setting. Flexible, tech-driven, collaborative spaces will focus on team members contributing both on-site and remotely. Hybrid work styles will not only have scattered physical attendance blended with virtual, but the hubs will have more general-use areas, as opposed to mandated desk assignments. Videoconferencing will be made more available to enable teams of the future to maintain team experience parity.
In the early stages of 2020, there was a rush to get people working from home before there was time to make equipment secure. Many people turned to personal equipment to maintain a seamless work transition. This led to a massive jump in cybercrime. Regardless of whether people return to the office, businesses will ramp up AI-powered cybersecurity tools to accommodate teams’ diversity. If the future dictates that some employees will be mobile, they will need to work within a secure framework when handling company data or communications.