In many companies, now-remote employees won’t ever return to the office at the same levels they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Gallup, just 5 percent of the pre-COVID American workforce worked remotely full-time. After the pandemic hit, that percentage rose to 26 percent, Gallup found, with many other survey respondents saying they were “mostly” working remotely.
As a result of reduced commuting costs, non-existent commute times, and better work-life balance, a sizable slice of employees now report wanting to make their remote work situation permanent. This shift in attitudes will have outsized ramifications for 2021 and beyond, particularly for supervisors, hiring personnel, and corporate events.
With this in mind, below are a handful of predictions for how the workplace will continue evolving in 2021.
Remote Work Levels Will Stay Up Through the Year
Even as the amount of vaccinated people increases, the percentage of workers doing full-time remote work will likely remain elevated. Also, around one-fifth of employees will work remotely in some capacity.
This immense change will impact the ways supervisors lead teams, how hiring and onboarding are carried out, and the ways people socialize. This, in turn, will trigger rapid growth for new remote work technologies, expediting our collective new normal.
Remote Management Will Mature
The shift to remote teams makes it impossible to supervise by walking around. Managers focused on the old-school, looking-over-your-shoulder approach will continue to struggle until their employees come back to the workplace. If top performers push for telecommuting as part of their terms of employment, many supervisors will have no option but to evolve or be brushed aside by supervisors who have adapted.
Those resistant to evolution should take note: Completely remote businesses existed prior to the pandemic, and these organizations have a lot of experience in running operations without physical contact.
An Increased Focus on Remote Culture
Hiring personnel and managers also have to modify the way they acquire talent. Considering how crucial culture and work-life balance are to younger employees, hiring personnel will have to identify methods for highlighting their business culture to applicants at every stage of the candidate selection process. Once staff members are hired and working from home, the job isn’t done. HR must strive to keep co-workers, managers, and others connected in meaningful ways.
Virtual communities and social technologies will grow in importance in 2021, as culture remains crucial to business success. In an office setting, staff members can readily interact with others and emerging solutions will actively generate ways for remote staff members to have both professional and casual interactions.
Corporate Events Will Embrace Virtual
Companies have slashed their travel budgets while corporate events and conferences have gone virtual and asynchronous. Although virtual corporate events may be more efficient, they lack the vibrancy and spontaneity of in-person events. With these events likely remaining virtual throughout 2021, there will be a big push for virtual ways for people to network and strengthen professional relationships.
We Can Help Your Team Meet the Challenges of 2021
At NSC, we are focused on working intently with our clients to help them meet unique challenges over the course of this year and beyond. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company tackle 2021 head-on.