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Workplace Trends for 2021

– Contributed content –

Business desktop

(Rawpixel, Pixabay)

27 Jan. 2021. 2020 was an unprecedented year for many businesses across the globe. The arrival of COVID-19 and the new challenges that it brought, blew many carefully crafted plans apart and forced us all to think about new ways of doing things in the face of such a terrible threat. More of us worked from home than ever before; focus on employee and customer safety was brought into sharp focus, and the need for disaster planning became abundantly clear amongst other things. Things changed fast, and they will continue to change in 2021 and beyond.

With that in mind, here are some of the biggest workplace trends we are likely to see in 2021 and the future beyond:

Hybrid workplaces

As the need to work from home more often continues, a lot of business experts are predicting a boom in hybrid workplaces. These are building hubs that make it easier for companies, and their employees to seamlessly meld remote working and office work without seeing a drop in creativity or productivity.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that remote working can be beneficial to businesses of all shapes and sizes, with an increase in productivity being common, but it can have its drawbacks, namely the ability for employees to easily collaborate and get creative together.

Hybrid workplaces solve this problem by ensuring that there is a dedicated space for meetings and collaborative purposes, while also supporting work from home setups. In order to do this, they are often fitted with extremely high-quality internet connections, the best tech tools for getting online, running conferences, and conversing remotely. If you want to set up a hybrid workspace, you may also want to learn more about DAS system costs and installation practices so that you can ensure your space always has a decent cell connection too. Hybrid spaces are modern, practical, and often more affordable to keep running, so you should definitely be considering them in 2021 and beyond.

Social workplaces

On a sort of similar note, now that home working is so common, we are likely to see a move away from workplaces that are solely set up to functionally assist employees in doing their work, and a move towards more social spaces where employees can spend time shooting the breeze, sharing a cup of coffee or simply relaxing, Why? Because the changes we’ve seen in the past year have been difficult for many of us to adapt to, and by making the workplace more social, when employees are in attendance, they can get some interaction and potentially boost their mental health.

This trend is likely to see more communal space, comfy furniture, games stations, and other leisure facilities pop up, which doesn’t sound too bad now, does it?

Scheduling technology

As we have mentioned, remote working has changed the business landscape significantly now, so it is not surprising that we are starting to see a huge boom in the use of scheduling technology right now.

With an increased need to collaborate from numerous locations, software that enable companies to better organize and schedule events is extremely useful, as you can imagine, and there are lots of different packages to choose from. Using this kind of software will help you to keep on top of all your company’s requirements, whether running meetings or discussing ideas, without losing productivity or having your carefully laid plans descend into chaos. You can quickly and easily schedule appointments and ensure that everyone who needs to know about them does know about them; you can track which seats in your office./ hybrid workplace are being used and which are free to be booked; you can add notes to your team’s calendars and so much more besides all at the touch of a button!

Safety measures

It’s not surprising that safety in the workplace is under the spotlight right now. We all need to do whatever we can to keep each other safe and keep our companies running come what may. So, it’s also not surprising that we are going to see a huge trend for safety in the workplace. This is likely to take many forms from simple hygiene procedures being put in place to greater use of contact tracing apps and employee management software that helps staff to keep their distance and stay safe while doing their work.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing has been gaining in popularity for a while, but 2021 is set to be the year when it is more widely adopted across business sectors, WhY/ for two main reasons:

  • It’s better for the environment
  • It makes remote work easier

When you, as a business, have all of your documents and data stored and backed up on the cloud, you eliminate the need for much of your usual printing needs to continue, which will not only save you money but also help to make your business a bit more environmentally friendly, which is never a bad thing.

When everything’s on the cloud, that also means it can be accessed from any location by anyone who has been granted access. This makes is really simple for employees who may be working from home to access the documents they need to do their work, thus ensuring that they are able to remain productive.

High-speed internet connections

It’s become painfully clear in this pandemic just how many businesses still do not have access to high-speed internet connections. So many companies and their employees have struggled so much with home working and teleconferencing because their broadband connections simply are not able to keep up with their requirements. As a result, we are sure to see a sure in demand for high-speed internet connections and more willingness on governments and private companies to provide them.

Health and wellbeing apps

The health and wellbeing of employees is a core focus of many business owners, managers, and HR people right now, so it is not surprising that we are likely to see a huge trend for health and wellbeing apps being provided and paid for by employers. From the Headspace app that helps people to de-stress and stave off anxiety and depression to the Apple Watch which allows wearers to track numerous aspects of their general health and wellbeing, and set themselves goals and targets to achieve, you can bet that we are all going to be focusing far more on this kind of tech in 2021 and beyond.

Touchless technology

It will be no surprise at all to see touchless technology on this list. Coronavirus has made it abundantly clear to us all how precarious our health is, and how easy it would be to pick up an infection in or outside the workplace – something that none of us want to happen right now.

From contactless credit cards to QR codes that act as a key for the office, any piece of technology that is able to replicate a function that would normally require a touch, but make it contactless, is going to be very popular in the coming months and years. As well as installing this kind of technology in your business, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in it either!

Interdepartmental communications

With remote working and everyone being spread out more, it’s going to become increasingly important for there to be better communications between work departments, even if they will have to be via Zoom or Teams instead of in-person. Spending time teambuilding between departments will become a real trend, and you know what? Businesses will really benefit from the increased collaboration!

Sustainability

The environment is becoming an increasingly big problem for us all to tackle. It is also becoming a value upon which consumers choose to patronize or not patronize any given business, so it makes sense that sustainability in business practices would be at the forefront of 2021.

How will this trend manifest? More use of solar energy for a start. Then there are electric delivery vehicles, cloud technology that eliminates waste, the use of biodegradable packaging instead of harmful plastics, and clean supply chains to consider for a start. In the workplace, recycling, energy-efficiency, and making more sustainable choices are likely to be at the forefront of this movement. The more you do in this area, the better it will be for your brand identity, so this is one trend you’re to want to look more closely at for sure.

As you can see, there are a lot of new technologies coming in to play to deal with the pandemic, alongside a lot of existing trends that are likely to become even more popular this year and in the coming years, largely driven by a coronavirus. It’s fair to say that the business world has changed forever due to COVID, but instead of looking upon these changes as an inconvenience, albeit an essential one, you should look upon 2021 as a time to start futureproofing your business; a time to make it better; make it more robust, and ensure that you can compete with the best of them. You can do this by embracing these trends in your business right now.

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