How The Workplace Will Be Changed By The Pandemic In 2021
Learn about the workplace trends that will dominate 2021 and how remote work will change.
Until the pandemic hit in 2020, people were slowly but surely moving towards longer work days and workplace stress did hit an all-time high. However, as we move to 2021, all of this changed. Remote work quickly took center stage as it was the only way for numerous business to survive.
The workplace completely changed and it keeps evolving. The pandemic practically created some very interesting trends we will keep seeing grow this year. Let’s discuss the most important ones.
Remote Work Becomes The New Norm
When 2020 started, remote work was rising in popularity and established itself as a long-term trend. Only 12% of US workers were employed full time in a remote position. In the UK, this number was 6%. Nobody was really ready for the mass remote work growth that followed.
After COVID-19 became very problematic, businesses started to adapt. It quickly became obvious that remote work was a possibility for a large part of the global workforce.
Old norms started to disappear and novel technologies rapidly processed. Most of us had to learn how to use platforms like Zoom, write email messages better, deal with computer security standards, and much more.
Although we do not yet have statistics, it is clear that remote work grew much more than anyone expected before the pandemic, with it becoming the norm in countless industries.
The Appearance Of Hybrid And Distributed Working
What was interesting was that large Silicon Valley businesses jumped the remote work wagon first. This includes Twitter, Apple, and Google. These tech giants let employees work from their homes and they even created a new term to describe the practice: distributed working.
This, alongside hybrid working, will proliferate in 2021.
Unfortunately though, most companies were not as prepared as these tech giants. Businesses from all around the world struggled because they did not understand that remote work was hard to properly implement.
All throughout 2021, we will see companies increasing their conversations about work discipline. The simple fact that you can work from home automatically makes it more difficult to be disciplined and actually do your work.
There is even a thing known as Zoom fatigue that is being discussed right now.
Basically, the key takeaway here is that companies will need to properly train their employees and teach them how to work from home.
A Growth In Overworking
Many remote workers were so grateful that they had a job that survivors’ guilt appeared when there were so many reports all around them that people were losing their jobs. As a result, overworking started to become more and more common. In part, this was because of the belief that working the extra hours would secure the job.
Working from home brings in numerous challenges. Besides the obvious fact that you have to maintain your sanity while you do something you are not used to and you lack actual social interaction, you also need to properly track work hours, which is problematic for those not used to remote work. At the end of the day, it is very easy to work more than you would normally do.
Because overworking can be a serious problem, we expect businesses to invest in training programs to highlight this danger and we will see a growth in the use of time-tracking software.
More Access To Entertainment
This one might come as a surprise. Because remote work grew, much time was gained as commuting was no longer necessary. Unfortunately, this time gained was used by many to catch up on emails and admin work.
Before the pandemic, the 24/7 work culture intensified. According to social scientists, contemporary workers were slowly becoming hybrids that did the job during work hours and then continued it with mobile technology and computers at home.
This is why, in 2016, we actually saw France issuing a low that allowed workers the “right to disconnect” from all work emails when not during work hours.
In 2021, we will surely see people fall victims to this 24/7 work culture. As a result, we will see an increase in workplace activism. Both governments and companies will surely reveal official working policies.
We already know that Twitter will allow its employees to work indefinitely from home if they so desire. However, over 60% of companies in the US did not share remote working policies. As soon as they do, they will surely include mentions of freedom outside work hours.
As more workers figure out that they are actually free outside working hours, a growth in the use of online entertainment sources will appear. We already see massive growth in the number of accounts for online streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.
Gaming is also growing and there will be increases in uses for numerous online services that offer entertainment.
And this is a good thing since we need to unwind, not continue working.
Marketer by day, gamer by night, human always!