This blog post is part of a series highlighting Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends of 2021 report.
Many business leaders believe working from home will be a major long term impact of Coronavirus. Euromonitor International identified Workplaces in New Spaces in the 2021 edition of the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends report. As 2020 ends with the mass roll-out of vaccines globally and the hope that 2021 will see a return to something more like life as we know it – how will this impact remote work now that it is not a medical necessity?
Working from home no longer a crisis response
According to Euromonitor International’s COVID-19 Voice of the Industry Survey, 68% of respondents globally expect working from home to be the most likely permanent change in post-COVID societal behaviour. Many large companies are cutting their office space and offering a blended work approach. While some jobs and cultural norms will require employees to return to the office, others – especially in countries that were already fostering a work from home culture before the pandemic - will opt for a more blended approach to work.
Employers will become more aware of which tasks their employees can do easily or even better at home versus those that need to be done in the office. Companies will need to be more strategic when it comes to changing consumption patterns and behaviors due to increased work from home, including more casual workwear, multifunctional workspaces and higher-quality food and beverages for in-home consumption.
Human interaction and digitalisation in harmony
One of the main challenges arising from remote working is how to incorporate the human element outside of the office.
The importance of face to face, human connection in traditional office space became more apparent throughout 2020 – with its impact on productivity, fostering a collaborative work culture and cultivating human relationships. However, companies were investing in digital infrastructure and software even before the pandemic, such as migrating to cloud-based systems and offering online telephone and video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams due to their long-term efficiency, cost-effectiveness and data security benefits. Technologies that focus on facilitating collaboration whilst working remotely as well as enabling a more human-like workplace connection, such as GobeRobots, will grow in 2021.
Focus on mental wellbeing
The other major challenge for companies will be maintaining the well-being of their employees in a blended workplace. Working from home changes routines and the loss of the commute does away with the natural demarcations between “on” and “off”. Although many people enjoyed working from home and spending more time with family, other people feel more isolated which can be especially acute for people starting at a company. Employers will focus on offices becoming places for collaboration whilst helping employees maintain well being. For example, employees may receive subscriptions to wellness apps or more virtual team building events. At the same time, the need for connection will grow and businesses will also need to give consumers a sense of belonging and connection.
People are expected to get smarter at working from home in 2021. Widespread working from home will no longer be a crisis response but a carefully considered business plan that balances company and employee needs and offers opportunities across many categories to combine the best of work and home working.