2021 Workforce Trends
As we have reached the end of 2020 we thought it was a good opportunity to reflect back on the previous year and how the significant changes in workplaces are going to shape 2021. It goes without saying that the introduction of remote working has changed the way in which we work, and it is definitely here to stay. Digital solutions have transformed the business world, and have helped us overcome the challenges presented by the global pandemic.
Moving into the new year, we are going to see even more of an accelerated transformation as we all come to terms with the fact that this pandemic is here to stay a little longer. There is a bigger need for real-time data to help with decision making, and there is going to be an even stronger shift towards employers needing to focus on the well-being of their staff. The one main thing that working from home has highlighted is the importance of looking after the mental health of employees. There has become a more blurred line between work and home due to remote working, and people are working longer hours than ever before.
Here are some of the trends we believe will shape the 2021 workforce:
Focus on health & safety
When employees start returning to their places of work, it is essential that employers take the steps necessary to ensure their safe return. Protocols need to be implemented that reduce exposure to other members of the team. Whether that be separating employees from one another by adding screen dividers throughout the office, or by staggering working hours so there are only half the team in at one time.
Culture and social responsibility have become more of a priority for businesses during 2020, and this is only set to rise within the next year. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign turned many heads, and has really got people thinking about how to include a wider range of ethnicities within their workforce. In 2021 we will definitely see more companies including diversity within their business model, as opposed to just adding it to their mission statement.
The rapid transition to remote working was forced upon many businesses, and they had no choice but to adapt and accept the new conditions. Remote learning has also played a big part in the training and upskilling of employees during 2020. With many staff being furloughed, they finally had the opportunity and time to undertake that training course they had always wanted to complete. With many employees preferring to work from home than in the office, businesses are going to have to put in place official flexible working policies to allow for this to take place.
Adhering to guidelines
As the regulations surrounding working from home are becoming more complex, employers will need to look at ways in which they can ensure their businesses are staying compliant. HR and payroll departments have had a particularly hard time of it this year, so during 2021 we are likely to see a shift towards streamlining compliance-related tasks.
Agility within the business
‘Agile working’ – not quite the phrase of the year (of course ‘your microphone is on mute’) has to be the winner there, but agile working is here to stay. Many businesses are changing their operational models to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. In order to continue with this transformation, businesses will need to focus on both their staff and their systems. Automating tasks where necessary, so that their staff have more time to carry out their important duties.
Despite these huge changes within the workforce, there is still a lot of optimism about the future. The digital transformation has definitely been sped up, but that can only be a good thing. It is not a case of making sure the processes and policies are in place to keep staff happy and mentally healthy.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.