COVID-19 has drastically changed workplaces, and by the end of 2021 these changes will become a permanent part of businesses and industrial growth. From a change in attitudes to remote workspaces, the way we work has been altered beyond doubt. How exactly would our changed working trend keep the wheels spinning?
A step up in Digital Communication
With remote and hybrid working systems, digitalisation has become fundamental to communicate on many platforms. Video conferencing has accelerated during these tough times so that work keeps going without having to compromise on the usual process. Telecommunication has its pros and cons, but this tremendous change will persist in the long run, owing to the ease of communication.
Working from home - The Gamechanger
Working from home has become commonplace. From saving time on the commute to spending quality time with loved ones, this fairly new domain has a surplus of advantages. Employees will request to work through digital platforms as it helps them save on capital. This also benefit employees to work in a more relaxed environment.
This inclination towards remote work setups is more perceptible in technology sectors. Now that the pandemic made many business forums rely on the hybrid work program—a mixture of work from home and work from office—employees may demand work from home plans in the future.
Hub and Spoke model
This is not a new concept, but the pandemic resurrected this model to engage efficient solutions to office needs. Hub and Spoke offices allow employees to work from their city or a strategic location. The ‘hub’ site is the central location and serves as the cultural hub for the company and its employees, whereas the ‘spokes’ will offer areas to work for certain company functions or teams.
Micro-businesses will soar
Due to the changes in professional life, remote or contract work is trending by hiring individuals on a task-to-task or on a campaign basis. As the office spaces decrease in number, the flourishing economy of freelancers and contractors will continue to rise. The gig economy will be more relevant in the primary and secondary markets. As employees get comfortable with working from home, they are more likely to explore gig work and companies will consider hiring such workers on a per-project / part-time basis. This also creates a shared economy as workers have more flexibility. This can stimulate creativity.
Inclusivity and Diversity in hiring
With remote working taking centerstage, many companies now hire (and will continue to hire) candidates regardless of their location. Organisations have started to hire employees from various backgrounds, provided they have adequate skills and knowledge. Diversity and inclusivity have also become a part of the larger hiring culture, and the companies that have not been able to match this cultural shift have even lost reputation. This will continue to surge, even after the pandemic recedes.
Virtual Reality and Hologram Technology
In collaboration with communication tools and applications, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and hologram technology is taking over the entertainment industry. In the next few years, these technological applications may replace monitors with lifelike displays, where you can gather, create, and analyse data in impressive methods.
Content creators to the top
In today’s world, everything is available on the internet. As a consequence, companies want their brands to be endorsed more. Even after the pandemic dies down, content creators will continue to raise the bar and help promote businesses. Video editors, graphic artists, application creators, content writers, SEO specialists, designers, and coding specialists fall under this category.
With the increase in connectivity over the internet, the risk to sensitive data also increases. Simply putting up rudimentary firewall and installing anti-virus on a system is not enough. Cybersecurity—which means protecting all sensitive data, personally identifiable information, protected health information, personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems from theft and damage—has become vital in the grand scheme of things.
Cyber threats can come from any level within the organisation, especially when multiple points of servers across locations are involved. Thus, educating people about risk and how to avoid them increases. And the onus lies on the organization to create that awareness, as well as secure all digital information. Irrespective of their size, cyber security incidents regularly affect businesses and cause massive financial and reputational damage.
With work from home being the current trend, the environment has a reason to glow. Employees do not have to commute between home and work, saving fuel and avoiding pollution. Even in the future, if one day is allowed for remote working, it will still prevent tons of carbon emissions, which can help in staunching climate changes. Moreover, working from home will reduce the massive electricity consumption that happen in office spaces.
Mental health, a concern
As the workplace changes, so does the working professional. Mental health of a working professional is something that should not be overlooked by either the organisation or the individual as well. It is necessary for employees to feel connected to their offices, their colleagues, and most importantly, the outside world. With the rising demand for hybrid working, loneliness could be a detrimental to their concentration and work performance. Therefore, remote socializing is a need, rather than a choice. Measures should be taken to promote self-positivity by engaging in activities and leisure breaks when the demand for digital communication is scaling up, every single day.
Wellness is another matter of concern, especially among telecommuters. Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are more common among remote workers than their colleagues in offices.
A viral outbreak brought our planet to a standstill, but the will to push through hurdles is what has gotten our industries back on their feet. As our society is evolving, the remote working system or hybrid workspace could be the future of our labour conditions. Offices will still exist, but with a transformed work climate. These trends are here to stay, if not forever, at least for the foreseeable future.