If coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that life is uncertain – it is ambivalent and unpredictable. And, so we found out that 2020 is going to bring a new wave of change in the future of work.
If we can’t stop the emergence and spread of deadly viruses, we must learn to deal with it in the future, and not just on a personal level, but the business level as well.
The health of a business affects the health of the entire workforce. Being ever-vigilant is something that will prove to be 100% rewarding in the long run.
However, now is the right time to notice how the situation at hand is going to affect our work conditions for years to come. I looked into it, researched the facts, and went through the latest stats to determine how 2020 is going to affect the business industry in the years to come.
With this article, I aim to provide you with a quick insight into what you must expect in 2021 and what you need to leave behind in 2020.
So join me as we explore:
Table of Contents
- What The Future Work Trends Are Going To Look Like
- To Sum It Up
What The Future Work Trends Are Going To Look Like
Here are some of the most prominent trends that are going to change everything from how we perceive our jobs to how we manage our team:
#1 Say Goodbye To Meetings
The thing about meetings is that they waste time.
2020 has been a great reminder that we do not meet to come to decisions. There are other ways to do all there is to do in meetings. For instance, we can find other methods to safely, as well as productively:
- Share facts and figures,
- Document discussions,
- Record polls, and
Now the last one of these points; brainstorming is the one thing that we are going to see a lot of in the coming years.
#2 Introducing: Mind Maps
Now we know that the working atmosphere combined with the threats of their virus outbreak is only going to make collaboration harder. However, we now know brainstorming, putting ideas forward, and documenting discussions is the most essential thing we want.
Hence, we can avoid face-to-face meetings by using tools that help us build a platform for virtual brainstorming.
The solution is to use mind maps. This is an upcoming as well as ongoing trend that is going to revolutionize the way in which we collaborate.
All in all, we know a lot can be accomplished by creating mind maps. Some of the upsides of using mind maps is that:
- It is a way for managers to map everyone’s input,
- It is a way to engage employees,
- It is a way to ensure that the creative juices are flowing,
- And, it is a great way to build an inclusive and welcoming team culture.
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#3 Remote Work Is The New Normal
It goes without saying that most managers, myself included were a little skeptical about the idea of remote work. It always seemed like something you turned to as a last resort. And the reasons for that were many, for instance:
- How will you monitor work?
- How will you celebrate achievements?
- How will you avoid distractions?
- How will you be consistent with success?
Too many questions and equally more uncertainty was all that remote work felt like for years. Needless to say, 2020 changed everything. Even though most leaders found themselves at a loss, and at times grossly unprepared, we picked up our resources and worked at a steady pace, and after a while, the damage was managed, and we were finally functioning.
Remote work stats suggest that people are willing to work remotely for the rest of their lives. And from the managerial aspect, leaders are ready to set up teams that will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.
I perceive this as something exceptionally empowering. It is something that emboldens the belief that remote work actually is possible. It is a real possibility and it will be taking over soon. Therefore, a normalized form of remote work is also something one must look forward to.
#4 Improved Employee Experience
Employee engagement and team morale are two parameters that suffered a lot in 2020. We have to admit that the connectivity between the managers and the teams got lost there for a while there. And now, not only do we have to pick up the pieces and put them together, but we also have to set a precedent for the future.
People need to feel safe. People are looking for a tether that can bind them to their jobs better than a paycheck does. And, that, my friends, forms another standard for when they look for jobs in the future.
Yours too will soon be an organization that strives to provide an “employee experience” that becomes home to the employees.
Improved employee experience will ensure your team members that they are safe, they are content, and they are happy where they work. Not only will it give them morale, but it will also keep them motivated to do better and be better.
#5 Automating Just About Everything
We can say that “remote work forever is a possibility” all we want. But we need to give credit to the one thing that made it all real, plausible, and doable — Automation tools.
When I say that leaders have a love and hate relationship with automation tools, it is definitely an understatement. However, this year, we picked up our battles and fought them hard, using whatever tool fits our team the best. And turns out, automation isn’t bad at all.
Automation is the mainstream when we talk about the now as well as the future. In fact, I would go ahead and say that it has become more of a necessity than a mere productivity trend.
In 2020, we have had to turn to tools that simplified management for us. We turned to tools that allowed us to be in touch with our employees and keep tabs on what they were up to.
And let me tell you using tools like these is the new normal for the coming age:
- Project management tools,
- Collaboration software,
- Employee engagement tracker,
- Instant messaging applications, and
- Time tracking platforms.
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#6 Expanded Duties Of The Leader
Now, since taking care of employee engagement and keeping the team motivated are the responsibilities adorned by the manager more than the human resources department, it is safe to say that we are going to see a massive expansion in the duties of the leader.
From what I’ve learned from 2020, I came to know a lot about employee nurturing and team trust. These are the two things that an employee craves. And, nurturing comes from giving appreciation and recognition while trust can be displayed with delegation and transparency.
Recognition and delegation must sound like a given to some, but these are the two things that are scarcely available in most organizations. 2020 is the reminder we needed to tell us that retaining employees is the duty of the manager who leads the team on the foundation of these two parameters.
The 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report says “Now is not the time to tinker at the edges of your organization—it’s time to reinvent it.”. And that is exactly what the trends indicate.
#7 Changed Recruiting Requirements
Since jobs are changing and the expectations from the manager seem to be changing as well, it is safe to say that the recruiting trends will also be taking a sharp turn. What were once educational qualifications and job experience, will now be a much more intricate recruiting procedure.
There are four primary things expected of a candidate (educational qualifications and work experience excluded):
- Proactive: Productivity is the main thing a recruiter looks for, that is for certain, but what has changed is that now managers are looking for people who do not back down, who are willing to see the project through, and who are willing to go the extra mile.
- Risk-takers: It looks like the future of work trends will include building teams of risk-takers. What that means is that we need a workforce that doesn’t shy away from challenges.
- Critical thinkers: We need critical thinkers who can look ahead in time and give results that match the collective vision of the team. Being an idea machine, along with a safety net, these critical thinkers are the number one priority for the team of the future.
- Cross-functional: Lastly, what we want is a team of people who are individually cross-functional. As part of the agile methodology, we know that cross-functional people are those who can assist the team with more than one type of task.
Why have the recruiting trends changed? There are two schools of thought:
- To manage the damage.
- To perceive and deal with future risks.
What we are heading towards is an era of super jobs.
And, super jobs are going to be all about skill-development, understanding the work processes of the whole organization, understanding how things move through the system, and being able to provide valuable insight into the same.
#8 Humanizing the Whole Scenario
Another thing that you will see change is the heightened focus on the human experience. Yes, employee experience and human experience are very different from one another. And, many reports suggest that things are going to change. From working towards a productive workplace the concentration of resources will be towards building a hospitable office culture.
Inclusion, engagement, morale boosts, motivation, teamwork, and effective collaboration are all going to be the key characteristics of your inspiring work/team culture.
The best way to bring about these changes is by humanizing the whole scenario. All we need to do to manage humans are to:
- Understand their needs.
- Listen to them and make them feel heard.
- Help, guide, and mentor them.
- Celebrate their achievements and important milestones.
- Make them feel comfortable enough to share ideas and opinions with you and in a group setting.
The most effective way to improve your team culture is to inculcate the most integral value of teamwork i.e. they are all working towards the same goals.
That can be made possible by uniting them on a virtual platform where people and projects can be managed simultaneously.
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#9 Welcoming Versatility & Flexibility
The new trends are also allowing us to accommodate and harbor a more accepting and diverse workforce that runs on skill more than the background. Even though this level of flexibility in work timings, hiring process, using automation has been tried to achieve for the longest time, the system has not been as sophisticated in the past as it is now.
We must get ready to view these things as a norm since we are trying to make our workplace more welcoming as well as productive at the same time.
It is a very thin line for a manager to walk on, and no one expects us to take the trophy home in the first trial. It is going to take some time to sink in, but this is what the time demands, and it is what the employees and clients both deserve.
So all in all, we will be making our peace with acceptance, diversity, versatility, and flexibility in the long run.
To Sum It Up
The future of work will be exactly like this.
A nuanced form of what we have been working towards for the past years is now blossoming into something revolutionizing and it should be something we should be proud of.
Not only does the future sound more innovative and inspired, but it also sounds more humane and nurturing.
And I am glad that managers and CEOs will have a big hand in leading these operations and putting these trends into motion.
As we start working towards a brighter tomorrow, I have a challenge for you that you must fulfill before you go on. And that challenge includes you looking into all these points and analyzing what you have already accomplished and what tasks still need a nudge in the right direction.