2021 Predictions: Business and Employee Experience

January 15, 2021

2021 is finally here. And with 2020 over, it's time to reflect and to look ahead!

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world most definitely changed.

Managers and employees were or maybe still are making plans for the next 12 months and preparing their workforce for further COVID related developments. While 2020 was a year of upheaval, 2021 is the year when organizations have to be clear where they are going, set goals and understand the skills they will need to achieve those goals.

But will the 2020 changes become permanent?

As the pandemic continues, the next 12 months will answer this question.

Collecting our experience on working on digital transformation, talking to a lot of experts, being part of many webinars and conferences, reading articles, conducting surveys and finally providing eLearning, our team is predicting developments that will impact businesses and employee experience in 2021.

Working from home is here to stay

Now that there is a vaccine and a lot of countries are starting vaccination, it is expected that organizations and offices will want to go back to normal.

However, it is still likely that business will continue working virtually, reducing the number of people who return to offices in 2021.

In fact, as businesses adapt and learn from the 2020 remote working experiment, many are continuing their long-term plans to accommodate this way of working.

According to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report”, by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. More specifically, 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely in 2021.

It will get easier

The move to working from home was forced and sudden. For some employees at the beginning of the pandemic, the lockdown scenario has not only forced them to provide their own workspaces but has also taken over their homes. Some managers perhaps didn’t understand the difficulties and challenges of having to work from home, a place that had formerly always been their private spaces.

But the end of 2020 showed us that businesses are trying to make WFH easier for their employees, adapting new technologies, practising flexibility, providing different communication technology options and most importantly offer emotional support. More specifically, last year was a proof for managers that people do not needed to be in the office each day in order to be productive. Employees are just as efficient working remotely.

There are ongoing considerations that organisations will need to be aware of. In addition to ensuring that teams have the equipment that they need (this could range from laptop to an appropriate chair), security should also be scrutinised. With home networks being utilised and personal devices being used, employees and organizations need to be aware of the possible issues that could arise.

Working from anywhere

2021 may bring some changes in our thinking about hiring employees. Remote working does not mean working from home but working from anywhere. With this in mind, a lot of organizations will look for high-quality employees regardless of location.

The pandemic has proved that a workplace is not a building. It is the space that enables our best work.

This brings a new era of managing a global workspace, where you do not have to be a resident in order to fit the job.

Read more about working from anywhere in this blog

Your customers are online

Customers have gotten used to online shopping, and they’ve became so much better and smarter at getting what they want. They know what they want, when they want it and how to complain or give great feedback.

Online reviews have become the best and the worst thing that can happen to a company.

So any business owner needs to up their game in customer support/service delivery.

Why good customer service is important

Every time we talk about public health, we should talk about mental health

Mental health is one of the biggest pandemic issues we'll face in 2021. Even though the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, still the impact of the pandemic on the collective psyche will remain. How employees and managers manage stress is crucial to finding respite but as well to maintaining productivity.

Creating a healthy workplace doesn’t necessarily mean a comfortable, well-thought-out work environment. It means building a safe and inclusive company culture, where employees can openly discuss their mental health issues with their managers without fear.

But among all this 2020 disruption, we saw much more awareness on this subject. We saw organizations who offer mental health programs for their employees, managers who are choosing a health insurance plan for their employees that includes mental health programs and leaves.
And to those we want to say - Keep up the good work!

In the light of this, our next ITSM Crowd will be related to mental health and its importance. The guest will be the amazing Helen Morris, service management consultant / trainer, now specialising in support of people in the workplace with stress management and cultural transition.

ITSM Crowd 85 - Love Yourself!

Business travel will not fully recover

It is unlikely that in 2021 we will meet again, face to face. The shutdown in travel and of workplaces has forced so many of us to meet virtually instead.

With conferences scheduled online in 2021 it is more than clear that the business travel will be significantly reduced as well.

Business analysts, including a recent study by S&P, believe business travel may not fully recover to 2019 levels until 2024. This information was ahead of the positive vaccine news, however has merit in that 2021 is likely to have a 46-60% return on business travel over 2019.

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