Due to Covid-19, 2020 was the year of the significant shift to working remotely. We had to adapt to working in the space we usually saw as the breakaway from the office and our daily career responsibilities, communicating with colleagues through digital channels and most importantly, and perhaps the most difficult for some, to maintain a discipline of staying productive.
In the beginning, it might have been something new, but as we moved into 2021, most of the previous year’s ‘normalcy’ remains the same. Most South Africans are still working from home, juggling home and work within the same space, but what lies beyond 2021 in terms of the Coronavirus, working from home and productivity?
Although the future looks uncertain, forecasts on how the pandemic will shape the workforce trends of 2021 and beyond are plentiful. Questions like ‘How many people actually want to work in offices?’, ‘How can companies become virtual first?’, and ‘How will video calls continue to shape business?’, are hot topics when we look at trends for the years to come. However, here are a few trends we’re likely to experience this year and in the future.
Employees Demand To Work From Home
Flexibility among employees has been building for decades, and now with the crisis, most employees have had a taste of what working from home is. The sudden change we experienced might not have been ideal, but the genie is out of the bottle, and it’s not likely to go back in…
Managers’ Fear Regarding Employees Working From Home
Trust in employees will eventually suffice when managers learn to minimise managing employees by counting butts-in-seats and focus more on results. Having employees in the office doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re productive and yes, ‘How will I know if they’re working?’ is a valid question. However, when people are forced to work from home for an extended period, it appears they will be, and managers will have to learn that ‘managing by walking around’ is merely a form of micro-managing. In the end, it’s results that really matter.
Managers working from home themselves tend to lose the worries of productivity and are more likely to endorse it for others. Collaboration becomes easier with the correct virtual tool such as Monday.com. It leads to happier individuals when not having to concern themselves with commuting, being away from family, workplace interruptions, etc.
Working From Home Can Prepare For Disasters
No one will easily forget disasters such as Covid-19. Individuals and businesses that were ready will know what work and what didn’t, and know how to close the gaps should another disaster strike again. Investors, in particular, will know how preparedness could be the safe-card in future.
Saving Cost With Employees Working From Home
In general, every business focused on attracting and retaining talent over the years, but saving money has been a top priority over the last year. Some businesses realised that they could actually shed some costs with less real estate due to employees using their own desk space at home. It’s something to consider with the future being unclear – smaller office space for mandatory meetings might be all that you need?!
Sustainability Awareness Increases
With people working from home, it became evident that traffic, congestion and pollution reduced. No one realised this until we saw how quiet the roads and highways were. We saw photos of dolphins swimming in Venice’s canals and many other trending posts on social media. Sadly, working from home is not a primary driver for sustainability, but maybe now individuals and employers might flip the switch.
Reduced Business Travel
Most employees have adopted virtual meetings, and the likelihood of business travel for meetings and conferences will reduce. Yes, virtual meetings don’t hold all of the face-to-face meetings, but it could definitely save time and money.
As mentioned before, the future looks uncertain, so let’s see whether these trends stick around. The most important is for us to work together to flatten the curve and keep everyone around us healthy and safe. Take care during the months to follow, Sandton!