With all the shutdowns caused by the pandemic, we saw about a decade and a half’s worth of workplace behavior change abruptly in as short as a few weeks.
The pandemic has forced us to adapt and quickly adopt changes that will keep businesses afloat and as many people employed as circumstantially possible.
This ability to pivot and adapt to the signs of the times has helped a lot of businesses survive. And as uncertainty still clouds our future despite the hope offered by the initial vaccines against the disease, 2021 will see some things that will continue to change the workplace landscape.
Here are some of the things that we believe will play a major role in defining what it will be like for small and medium-sized businesses in 2021.
What Will Change on How We Do Business in 2021
1. Remote work is not going anywhere any time soon.
Questions about the effectiveness of a work-from-home set-up have been answered this year. As companies were forced to transition to remote work to survive, many of those who implemented this working arrangement has made the necessary adjustments to ensure that their people will be productive and efficient in their newfound working environment.
While most companies intend to have their people return to the workplace, many plan to come up with some hybrid model that will incorporate on-site and off-site work.
2. Physical workspaces will be reimagined and take on several physical changes to adjust to the present global climate.
A lot of changes will take place in the workplace’s physical set-up. Although certain upgrades like a thermostat installation or ventilation improvement are necessary, offices and workspaces will need to be remodeled to comply with COVID-19 safety requirements set by the CDC and WHO.
This gives both employees and clients greater confidence to return to physical offices and establishments and not worry about their health and safety.
3. Business travel will not yet fully recover this year.
The changes in the way we do business nowadays will have a ripple effect on certain industries, including travel and tourism. Before the pandemic, companies spent millions on business-related trips and expenses.
However, when the pandemic spread, not only were businesses shut down but also countries’ borders were also closed to international travelers in hopes of preventing the further spread of the disease and keeping the number of positive cases as minimal as possible.
That being said, business trips will not be taking place as much as they used to. With businesses having embraced virtual meetings and gatherings at this time, a physical trip is no longer required. Meetings that used to take place in person can now be done online via video conferencing apps.
There will come a time when business travel will resume, but at this point, it is not something that is widely considered given the present global health crisis.
4. Digitalization will continue to accelerate at an unprecedented rate.
One thing is for sure, the way that technology has advanced has allowed us all to cope and somehow overcome the present challenges brought about by the pandemic. If the outbreak happened in 2005, we would not have survived it. But the way the internet infrastructure today is built, we have accomplished what was unthinkable a decade and a half ago through digitalization.
This accomplishment has had experts grinding to develop different ways and means further that technology can transform and improve our present condition.
5. Customer relationships will be reestablished as a top priority.
All the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses and establishments to realize just how important their customers are. It helped business owners and corporations to reorganize their priorities.
During a crisis such as this, how businesses maintain their relationships with their customers can make or break them. It gives them opportunities to strengthen their ties with their customers by enhancing the overall customer experience, given all the changes taking place around us.
Some businesses were able to successfully put customer relationships back on top of their list of priorities, while others have learned the hard way how crucial customer satisfaction is. At this point, business owners should not put themselves in a place of entitlement that they have what the market needs. They need to understand that the market has the money. The people in it are more likely to invest their hard-earned and limited resources in businesses and establishments worthy of their trust and loyalty.
As the pandemic continues to loom over us, we all need to roll with the punches and learn how to adapt the way we do work and business if we want to survive, and even thrive, during this time.