Should we believe in those workplace trends ‘they’ say are inevitable? And who are ‘THEY?’ 

Forecasting how we might work and live prepares us for the future. The work environment is under siege by economic challenges, technological developments, automation, and globalization. As the world changes, so do anticipated trends, although trends can be guesstimated with little accuracy depending on who is doing the collecting, assessing, and reporting. The workplace of today can help us prepare for tomorrow’s initiatives. If the trends are pointing to your business redefining workplace ethics and improved collaboration, who are ‘they’ that set the standards? 

Implementing trends requires a business to create new ways to disrupt its current operations and activities. Employees expect to compromise to rapidly changing demands as the employer should be enabling you to expand your skillsets to meet new demands and experiences. The rate of disruption in the workplace will potentially accelerate, especially with a renewed focus on the workplace remaining at least partially virtual. 

Five workplace trends will shape life after lockdown

Workplace trend experts mostly agree on an increased emphasis on improved work-life balance and those rewards that positively impact the workplace experience. Keeping employees engaged, happy and satisfied has given impetus to this trend to thrive. Businesses are actively navigating strategies for flexible work schedules to reel in the best candidates and boost retention rates. Additionally, the co-existence of our professional and personal lives is foremost in the minds of employers as they manage our daily workplace existence through increased visibility into our personal lives. Work from anywhere, compressed workweeks, onsite amenities, long-term job security and an attractive salary are some of the trends we will see imbedded into the workplace of the future.  

The term ‘employee engagement’ is abstract at best. There is an emotional connection onewn feels towards those they work with. What makes one person feel connected to an organization may not be what motivates another to perform and deliver. This changes with every passing day. Therefore, the trends that are working fine today might not be applicable tomorrow.  

Forward-thinking business leaders and managers must keep themselves updated on pending trends and strategies that will be talked about, challenged, implemented with success, or tossed out due to failure. There are those commonalities we feel comfortable ‘predicting’ for the future workplace include: 

Health, safety and wellbeing in a stress-free work environment: improved productivity and performance; improved policies and procedures will documented and communicated with honesty and transparency; employees will demand benefits for all generations (flexible shifts, hybrid schedules, additional time off, performance based incentive packages); companies will offer up-skill/cross-train/re-skill/soft skill educational initiatives to attract and retain talent to keep staff engaged and challenged; a prominent focus on maintaining work life balance; the return of compassionate leadership.                                          

Technology disruptions and digital transformations: platforms will address mental health needs in a judgment-free zone; the gig economy will provide services and benefits to the modern workforce; a rise in ‘renting’ global online talent  will fill gaps as businesses navigate the future; robots (AI and ML) and humans will coexist, boosting personalized actions via analytics-driven and logical decision making; a virtual presence continues; increased cybersecurity and IT support limits exposure on the cloud as the technology will be integrated into performance management and feedback tools.   

An elevated workplace will focus on company brand, culture and people first: employees will be Brand Ambassadors;  burnout will be addressed with actionable remedies that support decompression; company success will hinge on employee engagement to remain competitive and even thrive; there will be compassion in the workplace with full disclosure regarding work performance and initiatives; relationship building efforts will thrive; recognition or reward will be bestowed for a job well done; action-oriented empathy will demonstrate a sincere commitment to staff.  

Diversity, ethnicity, safety, equality and inclusion still has a long way to go, but change is on the horizon: the gender-wage gap remains with managers over-rewarding male employees; businesses are making a commitment hit aggressive diversity targets, making public pledges to stakeholders on allocation of resources to address said issues; building diverse teams to work together in innovative and profitable ways will bring fresh perspectives to the business. 

The Most Important 2021 Employee Engagement Trends Ben Travis 

3 Big, Not-So-Obvious Employee Engagement Trends for 2021 By Cord Himelstein, November, 2020 

9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond by Brian Kropp January 14, 2021 

Carrie Schochet, Founder, Purple Squirrel Advisors, Retained Search Advisor, Middle Market and Private Equity Talent