As a business owner and leader, you've probably noticed that we're headed out of the pandemic and into what will soon be called the 'new normal.' As vaccination levels rise, countries recover, and social distancing restrictions begin to lift, we are beginning to see a mass return to work across all industries, some of which have changed forever.
The COVID 19 Pandemic disrupted employment markets globally in 2020-2021. Some industries were deemed essential and continued to work from their offices, while others were forced to adapt and embrace remote work policies. This significant shift drastically changed how we work. According to Statistics Canada, almost 40 percent of workers were working remotely by the end of March. Statistics Canada further estimated that 22.5 percent of businesses would continue to keep at least 10 percent of their staff in a remote work environment.
The long-term implications of this reality are exciting as business leaders are beginning to navigate uncharted territory while laying the groundwork for the future of work.
What does the future hold for the future of work? Will companies require office attendance, or will they offer hybrid or work from home models? One thing is for sure: the future of work is about to evolve in once unimaginable ways.
Below are five exciting trends we are keeping an eye on as the world works to figure out the future of work.
1. Remote vs Hybrid vs In-Person Work
Businesses in the post-pandemic world must understand the impact that the work-from-home model has had on the mindset of employees. The last year and a half opened the eyes of employees and employers. For the first time in history, both parties mutually agree that working remotely can be effective. To be successful, business leaders will need to assess and consider the optimal model for their company. Choosing the optimal work environment for your organization can be linked directly to productivity, company-wide communication, and employee happiness.
In a hybrid model, employees may feel liberated by the power of choice, improving your team's morale, and in turn, improving their overall productivity. A hybrid model can also promote growth and enhance company-wide communication. Organizations will need to implement new communication systems to ensure information is shared in unison with in-person and remote teams. On the other hand, an entirely remote model may improve company morale as employees tend to enjoy the added freedom. However, not all employees can reach their full potential outside an office environment, hindering productivity. Regardless of what model you choose, you must recognize that the pandemic has created an employee base that no longer feels compelled to embrace the in-person model.
2. Gig Economy vs. Full-Time Employment
Another trend to keep an eye on is the gig economy as it compares to the full-time economy. The gig economy is becoming increasingly popular and will continue to flourish in the coming years as we leave the pandemic behind. The gig economy can be explained as an independent contractor economy that involves exchanging labour for money between individuals and businesses, often via digital platforms that facilitate matching between customers and providers. Think of Uber or Lyft as examples. The pay model is generally on a pay-by-task basis.
The shift to the gig economy is driven by employees choosing to enter a working model that offers flexibility, freedom, and personal fulfillment. To be prepared for this shift, businesses and business leaders should ensure adaptability; improve workplace policies, and explore new AI-driven recruitment methods. Employers need to be adaptable by providing thorough structures to implement gig employees into their work model – whether via cloud-based programming or an outreach department to manage and accommodate part-time employees.
The excellent news is workplace policies can be augmented easily to shift from the employment model to the gig model. Gig employees may not be motivated by the same benefits offered to a full-time employee, so new workplace policies will need to reflect the growing number of gig roles. Lastly, embracing AI will allow companies to match gig talent that suits their needs and possibly enable them to progress from outdated recruitment departments that don't adequately serve a modern gig model.
3. Talent Management Programs
Now more than ever, business leaders need to realize the value of talent management programs.
Business leaders will need to embrace these programs to ensure they can acquire, grow, and retain their talent. As employees realize that the future of work is changing, they may look elsewhere for more significant opportunities.
Business leaders should embrace talent management to create a strategic hiring process, improve employee onboard experiences, retain talent, and enhance employee development. Embracing talent management will allow your business to embrace innovation, remain current, and maintain your homegrown talent in what will progress to be an extremely competitive employee market.
One trend that is emerging in a post-pandemic world is the importance of collaboration. Businesses should be prepared to create opportunities for collaboration, whether remote, in-person or hybrid. Gone are the days of efficiently meeting in a boardroom to hash out the final details of a business plan or brainstorm big ideas in person with your team. We're slowly noticing that organizations are becoming increasingly more dispersed and working across multiple time zones.
Businesses must implement tools to maximize modern collaboration. This may mean investing in online meeting software, shared cloud servers or scheduling programs to allow employees working anywhere to collaborate seamlessly.
5. Leadership Evolution / Changes
An evolution in leadership styles will be crucial to business success in a post-pandemic world. Employees got a taste of heart-based leadership during the pandemic, and they will expect this dynamic to continue. Businesses need to ensure that they adapt to these leadership models to maintain employee satisfaction and team morale.
Emphasizing hiring leaders who are empathetic to their employee's needs and lead through serving their concerns will allow companies to thrive and stay ahead of the modernization of the workforce.
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Selecting the proper tools to thrive in a remote or hybrid work environment is imperative for success.
At Ridgebase, we make the process of choosing and deploying technology and automation solutions incredibly simple. Navigating technology solutions can be highly time-consuming and intensive. Luckily, you can book a meeting with an experienced Ridgebase advisor to help you curate a customized plan for tech solutions that will help you seamlessly navigate the future of work.