What will the future of work look like and what it means for your staff?

The whirlwind of 2020 has left many of us wondering what the future of work will look like in 2021. Hiring managers have had to quickly adopt to online interviewing, line managers think of ways to motivate teams and monitor employee productivity, while HR and IT departments have been left with countless additional tasks, from writing new policies to ensuring computer systems are robust and functional.

Will 2021 see staff returning to open plan offices, or will remote working, flexible hours and virtual onboarding continue to be the ‘new normal’? We take a look at five ways the world of work is likely to change and consider what it means for businesses.

 

Will my staff be fully remote?

 

This topic has to be the biggest debate across the corporate world, regardless of the industry, size or location. The cost-savings to businesses, who are able to save on office space and the associated running costs, can be significant. A number of banks in London, prior to the pandemic, offered hotdesking solutions and cut permanent desk space. Although there can be issues with staff motivation, many managers have witnessed improved productivity in staff who have flexibility as to how and where they work.

Earlier this year Deloitte looked at home working for financial services employees during the Covid-19 lockdown. Results showed that only 10% of financial services employees had a negative home working experience.

The negatives that staff tend to report when homeworking tend to be linked to poor mental health, as well as a lack of motivation. This could be due to not having space to work, or being unable to focus due to child care. Many companies now consider ways in which they can support those who are struggling with the adjustment. Whether it’s ensuring that employees are equipped to work from home by sending them additional technology, or companies purchasing meeting rooms for those who are struggling, the consensus is that remote working is here to stay.

It is likely that shared office spaces, used mostly for social and collaborative purposes, will pop up in cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. Last month Standard Chartered Plc announced it will “push the boundaries” for half of its 85,000 staff, who work in nine of the 55 countries where it operates. From early 2021, it will offer employees the option of heading to a “near home” location, which it will rent from an office-sharing company.

 

An increase in automation and AI

 

Like it or loathe it, companies have adopted AI, Automation and new technology during COVID-19. Outside of the recruitment industry, AI has already worked to provide personalised Covid care to patients. The Office of National Statistics states that 8% of jobs in the UK are at risk of automation with Deloitte expecting this figure to rise to 35%.

 

Will your company recruit for new roles?

 

With the speed of which things are changing, you might see the recruitment of new job titles happening quicker than you think. The Future of Jobs Report 2020 predicts that 97 million new jobs of tomorrow will emerge by 2025. The five most in-demand roles in future job markets include:

  1. Data Analysts and Scientists
  2. AI and Machine Learning Specialists
  3. Big Data Specialists
  4. Internet of Things Specialists
  5. Digital Transformation Specialists

 

Flexible working requests

 

When lockdown hit in March, UK businesses scrambled to implement digital infrastructure that would allow staff to work remotely. Organisations who previously discouraged home working were finding their employees performing well. When lockdown was lifted, many companies implemented flexible start times so that staff could avoid commuting in the busiest hours, limiting their person-to-person contact. In an age of lockdown measures and self-isolations it’s easier for employers to maintain an agile approach meaning traditional ‘9 to 5’ working hours change.

 

Virtual onboarding of new starters here to stay

 

There is no denying that companies, pre-pandemic, varied in their onboarding processes. With many new starters embarking on their new roles remotely, it has forced HR departments and line managers to take a look at their onboarding process and to bring it to life virtually. From branded items and equipment being delivered and installed ahead of their first day, to the introduction of corporate buddy programmes, previews of the first day itinerary and ‘weekly wind-down’ sessions, are ways in which companies changed from their existing inductions.

The truth is COVID-19 has accelerated the future of jobs. Just as the high street experienced its own revolution, creating casualties for those that didn’t adapt to online shopping, business that plan to return to the workplace of January 2020 will be left behind. Moving to new, remote operating models will allow businesses to take advantage of their existing talent, potential talent pool, and make the most of new opportunities.

To discuss next year’s recruitment plans, contact Meraki Talent to find out how we can support you, call us on 0131 297 2700 or email hello@merakitalent.com