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4 predictions for the future of work (after COVID-19)

A lot has happened over the last year. If we said that the world has changed, that would be an understatement. From the grass roots social movements of BLM and #metoo, to a seemingly endless flurry of privacy and data scandals, and now an unprecedented global pandemic…we are witnessing change on a scale that many of us have never seen, and never will see again, in our lifetimes. Truly, we are entering a new chapter.

So what will that chapter look like? This is a difficult question to answer. The proverbial dust is still settling. However, we are starting to signs of how these changes will impact our future. As a company dedicated to being ahead of the curve, this is something PA Business Support are highly invested in. So here are our predictions for the future of work…

Flexible and remote working will be the norm

At PA Business Support, in addition to permanent full-time roles, we represent some of the most highly-skilled and experienced Virtual Assistants in the UK, and they have a proven track record of boosting business success. In the past, there was a lot of scepticism – and indeed, stigma – around working from home, so it was relatively rare. Many managers were hesitant, often due to (an unfounded) lack of trust in their own employees’ productivity or effectiveness in such an environment. Not anymore – thanks to COVID-19, the genie is now out of the bottle! Business leaders are seeing that productivity is the same, if not, greater, via a remote workforce. This trend is set to continue, with complete overhauls of working and collaborative infrastructure now in place in most businesses. Expect to see it in the DNA of more and more businesses and industries.

Offices will be a thing of the past

The BBC reported that fifty of the UK’s biggest employers have no plans to bring back workers to the office. As we pointed out above, this is as much to do with COVID-19 convincing managers that remote working actually works, as it is to do with an ongoing need for social distancing. So companies are asking themselves the question: is paying for an office space even necessary anymore? However, studies have shown that while many people enjoy working from home, they also miss the informal face-to-face conversations, the “water cooler” moments, and the general feeling of community that a physical office gives them. Shared co-working spaces like WeWork, and the rapidly growing number of independent ones, are going to be the future of the office as we know it much sooner than anyone expected (and note how they don’t call themselves “offices”!).

Culture will be the lynchpin of successful business

If there’s one thing that BLM, #metoo, and the data scandals have shown us, it’s that working culture was long due an overhaul. As can quickly be seen on websites like Glassdoor, it’s now the number one thing employees look for when searching for a new job. For any business looking to survive into 2021 and beyond, they must now put the question, “how do we want to treat our people?”, as their top priority. The good news is that, time and time again, studies show that more inclusive and diverse workplace cultures make for more successful businesses, and it’s a direction that we value and fully support here at PA Business Support.

The employer will become a social safety net

The campaign for Mental Health awareness has, for some time now, been working to change how employers view the employee experience. The pandemic has increased the trend of employers playing an expanded role in their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being. A future of work which puts personal factors above external factors in what matters for organisations and employers alike, is a future we are already starting to see. Those businesses that provide things like enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation and child care provisions, will thrive. Likewise, those that dedicate themselves to making people of all ages, backgrounds, physical abilities, races and religions, feel represented, safe and included, will be the top employers of the future.

In conclusion

Seismic cultural shifts and powerful social forces are eroding traditional boundaries and will continue to change the workplace almost beyond recognition. Investments in digital infrastructure, support, and a reinvigorated focus on workplace culture will be key to surviving the future. But to be truly successful, future businesses need to focus on building a culture which helps leaders, managers, and employees promote mental and physical well-being, and – most importantly – nurture virtual community.
If you want to be ready for the future when it arrives, and want talent that actively embraces it, then get in touch with us now.

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