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3 Unmissable Workplace Trends for 2021

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Originally published in Toolbox HR.

As we continue to rely on technology, it is important to understand how the landscape of the workplace has changed. From hybrid work environments to employee wellness, and more, here is what to anticipate as we settle into 2021.

In 2020, the workplace underwent unprecedented changes in regard to the way a business operates and engages employees, reinventing the overall employee experience. With many suddenly finding themselves balancing work from home with raising a family, the overall theme for many organizations was flexibility.

Despite recent good news surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine advancements, we still have some time before the world returns to pre-pandemic normalcy.  However, as organizations formulate their return to work strategies, technological advancements will continue to drive innovation and success, supporting a seamless integration of remote and in-person work. As we look ahead to 2021, it is necessary to understand how the landscape of the workplace has changed, and where workplace trends are headed.

#1 Hybrid Work Environments

A top workplace trend for 2021 is a hybrid work environment. While many organizations are eager to return to the office, remote work is here to stay in some capacity. In fact, many large companies including Salesforce and Google have announced plans for a continued digital or hybrid work environment well into 2021. A recent report estimates that 25-30% of employees will plan to continue to work remotely at least some of the time by the end of the year.

To successfully lead a hybrid workforce, it is crucial that you set clear expectations and effectively communicate with your employees to maintain a strong company culture. This can be accomplished through leveraging technology that promotes communication and engagement. The utilization of online video or messaging platforms such as G-Suite or Slack will help facilitate conversations and build community, breaking down virtual barriers while engaging both in-person and remote employees.

As we continue in the new year, it is critical that organizations utilize digital technologies to effectively manage a remote team. From monitoring the flow of employees in the office to maintaining engagement among the teams, managing a hybrid work environment takes effort from both sides. However, when done effectively, this will allow you to maintain a strong company culture and successful business.

#2 Greater Focus on Employee Wellness

The past year has shown employers that in addition to caring for their employees at work, they must also consider other aspects of their life. With the added stresses and anxiety of the global pandemic coupled with working from home, greater emphasis will be placed on a workplace trend of overall employee wellness as we continue into the new year.

Salesforce, for example, recently extended its support with added benefits and flexibility, recognizing the challenges of working from home as well as the commitment of parents to raise their children. The updated policy includes parental care leave, home office support, and more, to ensure employees receive the care they need.

Policy changes, however, are not the only way to improve employee wellness. Other opportunities include organizing team building activities, incorporating mental health checks into daily or weekly workflows, recognizing employees for their achievements, and more.

As you continue to manage a remote workforce and begin the transition back into the office, it is important that you incorporate employee wellness into your return to work strategy. A healthy work-life balance has not only been proven to increase productivity and employee happiness, but it also transforms employees into brand advocates.

Learn More: How to Turn Clients into Brand Advocates

#3 Virtual Onboarding Processes

A final workplace trend to watch out for this year is virtual onboarding processes. Not only will your daily workflows see a shift, but you should also anticipate changes to the hiring and onboarding process to accommodate remote work. Many new employees are starting in remote positions without having met their coworkers during the hiring process.

Typically, the onboarding process would consist of going into the office, meeting new team members, and getting set up with the proper equipment. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic into 2021, it is critical that you revamp your onboarding experience to ensure new employees receive proper training as well as integration into your company and culture.

Key components of a successful virtual onboarding process include early introduction to the company culture, clear communication of expectations, and adequate training. By investing time and energy into your onboarding process, new employees will feel welcome and become immersed in the culture, something crucial as you lead a remote workforce as well as transition back into the workplace.

Learn More: How to Build and Maintain a Successful Company Culture

Continued Digital Transformation in the Workplace

Overall, as we head into 2021, you can expect to see technology continue to evolve and drive innovation. From onboarding processes to social interactions, it is imperative that you embrace digital innovation to maximize the success of your business and engage your employees, without compromising culture.

The year 2020 was filled with significant change as businesses across all industries were forced to pivot to a remote world. Technology platforms have enabled organizations to deliver remote experiences to their employees. Now, as we prepare to enter a post-pandemic world, technology will play a crucial role in continuing to improve the employee experience.

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