With Covid-19, much like everything else in the world, workplaces have had to adapt and change like never before. Both employers and employees are changing what they expect from each other and priorities have shifted. With that in mind, this month we explore how the workplace is changing in 2021 and beyond.
Workplaces Are Changing In 2021
If 2020 has proven anything, it has proven that flexibility is now an essential requirement for organisations. We have seen a lot of tech companies announce they will no longer expect employees to come into the office (WFH) even after this pandemic is over. Laptops are replacing desktops to create a more mobile workforce. Core business hours will always exist but the idea of the classic “9 to 5” is being replaced with people working at different times throughout the day.
A lot of office work can be done just as well at 7 am as it can be at 7 pm. However, that’s not to say staff are expected to necessarily work longer hours rather, it;’s allowing for flexibility throughout the working day. For example, you may choose to pick the kids up from school instead of having them go into after-school care. This task might take 30 minutes out of your day and so, you work an additional 30 mins by either starting earlier or finishing later to make up for lost productivity.
One thing’s for sure though, those companies that go back to enforcing office-only based work may risk losing top talent who value flexibility.
Change Of Office Environment
5-10 years ago hot desks were the new trend. Over the years many organisation have gone back to traditional set-ups because hot-desks ended up giving staff a sense of displacement and meant teams were less cohesive. Another example of how the workplace is changing in 2021 is, with Covid-related restrictions, hot-desks have once again become viable. Many organisations are removing “personal” desks and increasing gathering spaces such as conference and meeting rooms. Desks are becoming more about a temporary place to plug-in, rather than a destination to carry out regular, day-to-day work. Offices are becoming more about places for teams to meet-up and spaces for where training can occur.
With an increase in the use of video conferencing, the need to travel for quick meetings will no longer be required. In fact, companies have continued to flourish and meet targets without this in place. Of course, some jobs just can’t be done without travel, so corporate travel will not disappear all together rather we’ll see a heavy reduction in physical meetings. Team conferences look to also remain virtual for the foreseeable future and most likely will remain this way well into 2022 to ensure social distancing measures are still being practised.
Increase In Contingent Workforce
With a lot of restructures, redundancies and closures many companies are altering their workforce to the flexible environment, They are focusing more on part-time and contract employees to manage any short-term future changes. Employees are also being more flexible in the work they are looking for, some may have a need to take whatever hours they can get but then the advent of more flexible roles also opens opportunities for people who may have struggled to find part-time work and also creates a new pool of talent for organisations.
Even though mental health has become higher up on the agenda over the last decade, it is now a major priority for both employers and employees. With lockdowns and quarantines re-occurring across multiple waves of infection break-outs, we’re facing challenges we’ve never seen. Adapting to the delicate balance of working from home, while home-schooling kids and maintaining some kind of “normal” leisure time isn’t just a bad dream but a reality for many across the world.
Even with schools and some businesses allowing people to return to the workplace, there is a very different approach to doing business across nearly all corporate environments and mental health is one area where HR departments are quickly adding value to a business and its staff.
No matter which way you look at it, things are changing and with every “bad” change comes good. We encourage our customers to recognise the opportunities and focus on the positive changes. If you’re stuck in a rut and need some help traversing the new world of employment and how the workplace is changing in 2021, get in contact with us at The Peak HR – we can help.