It is no secret that COVID-19 has changed our day to day lives dramatically. With many working from home, homeschooling their children, and investing in masks of every color, it is safe to say that the future of work is in for a makeover. With that said, this change may be for the better!
To get a better idea of what the future of the workplace looks like in 2021 and beyond, we’ve interviewed 10 small business owners and asked them to share their vision with us. Regardless if you are curious as to whether you will ever see your cubicle again or if this change presents an opportunity for innovation, you’ll definitely want to hear these individuals’ insights.
Majority Remote Work Week
Before the pandemic, our company workplace was following Pareto’s Principle: 80% in office and 20% remote. After the pandemic, we’re planning to flip that ratio to be 80% remote and 20% in office. That means our company will look to co-working spaces to help satisfy the 20% in office time we are looking to achieve. I’m not sure what the future of the workplace will look like, but for our company, we’ll be shifting to a majority remote work week without a permanent office lease.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Working From Home Works
Some companies have come to the realization that working from home works! Working from home will no longer be taboo or something that only hip start-ups offer as a perk. Even after the effects of COVID-19 wear off as we get into 2021, I wouldn’t be surprised to get on calls with clients and see they are still working in their home office well into next year. COVID-19 has opened the door to more flexibility and ability to successfully do your job without the driving in rush hour and sitting in a cubicle all day. Remote work is here to stay!
Jennifer Schissel, Y Scouts
Diverse Models of Operation
I don’t think there is going to be one set model of operating. However, I do believe COVID-19 has forced many employers to face their fears and doubts about a distributed work model and experience many of the benefits (such as increased talent pool, happier employees due to better work-life balance, reduced overhead costs as office space is let go).
Philip Botha, Culture Advantage
Honoring Work-Life Balance
First of all, COVID-19 has proven that anything is possible when we set our mind to it. We can reimagine the way that work is done. We can successfully adjust where and when we do our jobs. And, COVID-19 has reminded us all that we must honor the balance between “work” and “life.” Allowing employees the flexibility that they need to run their households, support their children, partners, and parents is no longer a “nice to have,” it is essential.
Niki Ramirez, HR Answers
The Office is Wherever You Get Your Work Done
The future of work is a network of offices and teams. This has launched two trends: remote work and collaborating in distributed teams. The office is wherever you work. The globalization of our economy, our reliance on mobile devices, and technology innovation has changed employee perspectives on physical office space. The office is where you get your work done; in your corporate office, at a coffee shop, in your home, or in a coworking space. 60% of the workforce is working remotely, and some organizations are making this option permanent.
Marti Konstant, Workplace Futurist
Digital Collaboration As a Critical Competency
Major shifts in remote working is one of the biggest post COVID-19 implications for the future workplace. As organizations shift to more remote work, explore critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, and prepare to adjust employee experience strategies. Consider innovations for new performance measurement strategies.
Mark Christensen, People & Partnerships
Increase in Collaboration and Trust
Since the emergence of COVID-19, I think we have all learned just how flexible and resilient our workforce can be. Regardless of whether it is working remotely, with reduced teams, or with a mask on, I think the future of work is a much more collaborative and trusting environment.
Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions
Accessible and Affordable Virtual Tools
I think businesses have now realized that there are accessible and affordable tools available for their employees to utilize. With this realization, they will be more flexible to their workforce in working remotely. While the beginning of the pandemic was very uncertain and housed a lot of trial and error, businesses have been able to adapt quickly to learn how to manage performance while working remotely. Now that companies have an idea/experienced this, there isn’t that fear of the unknown. When they look at their operating costs for 2020, I think they will see that providing virtual tools to their workforce is less of an expense than having an office and office perks (coffee, lunches, snacks, etc.).
Kiersten Mai, Human Resources Professional
The Need to Create Meaningful Connections in a Virtual Environment
The “new normal” for workplaces presents a ton of new opportunities and risks oftentimes by the same exact factors. People now have the opportunity to target organizations they could have never worked for prior to a remote working policy being put in place. At the same time, it increases the burden of accountability on the individual which could be problematic in light of all the cat videos on the internet. The biggest challenge is the need to create meaningful human connections in a virtual environment. The right companies realize that culture is a commitment and not a physical location.
Lukas Ruebbelke, Briebug
Strengthened Internal Server Security
Flexibility is key. Traditional workplaces now have enough data from their employees proving that working from home is absolutely possible–and productive. Companies will now probably take extra steps toward beefing up their internal server security with outsourced cloud companies and digital security businesses, too.
Sarah Potter, Mother of Marketing