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2021: Emphasis on the Human Element in Workplaces

by Jody Ordioni

2021: Emphasis on the Human Element in Workplaces

2020 was a roller coaster of a year, not just for individuals, but for organizations as well. A pandemic that forced everyone to work from the confines of their homes and the rallying cries for justice that took everyone by storm indicate that things are changing. Companies have had to introspect and ask themselves tough questions regarding inclusivity and their work models. Workplace compliance, inclusivity, and the well-being of the employees are the topmost trends that will form a part of every professional conversation in 2021. Here’s what you should watch out for:

Flexibility of Schedule

The pandemic has caused 44% of employers to bring a change in the workplace policies and make it more open to flexible schedules and pay. The transformation has positively impacted the workforce, as 65% of employees feel it opens the future to more flexible work. Many teams were already gearing their workflows and resources to facilitate a flexible schedule, while others achieved this transformation with great speed, from the onset of the pandemic. Businesses should carry forward this practice by building systems that empower the teams within the organization and other businesses they support. Customizable workflow and pay schedules are the future.

The Resilience of the Employees

The physical and mental health of the employees is another important factor to be considered in the coming year. Our study has shown that in workplaces with 1000 or more workers, nearly 39% of the employees expressed concern about their health, amidst the pandemic. Workers who have experienced many changes in the pandemic are found to be much more resilient, both physically and mentally. The psychological resilience was also dependent on the faith the employees had in their leadership.

If the employees were confident that the leaders will map out an adequate course that will keep the company on track, they showed far greater resilience. HR is playing a greater role in bridging the gap between the leaders and the employees, within the company. HR should train the leaders to effectively communicate with their teams now that traditional channels of communication are out of the picture. The new practice at the workplace is to nurture the workforce by emphasizing humanity and understanding the potential of the employees.

Diverse Workforces and Inclusivity

The past year has also seen major protests over racial and other forms of inequality. The simmering anger has finally come to the surface and minorities are no longer interested in working at organizations that do not make up space for them. Thus, 2021 is bound to be the year when discussions surrounding diversity, inclusivity, and equity, are finally taken up seriously. Our research has shown that leaders are cognizant of this shift, as more than 74% of company leaders are looking at racial or other disparities in their companies and how to rectify them. EI, or emotional intelligence, will play a major role when resolving the issues of inequalities.

Company-wide Compliance

Compliance while working remotely, and in the middle of a never-seen-before situation, is bound to get trickier. Companies are already facing problems while it comes to adjusting to new regulatory changes. The coming year will only see more changes happening within the workplace. Employers have to build a plan of action so that the workflow is not disturbed.

The Agility of the Company

For the foreseeable future, the agility of both the employer and employees will determine the success of the company. Businesses have to recover and learn to work in a changing field, simultaneously. 84% of the employees surveyed still feel optimistic about the time to come and nearly 75% of employees feel that 2021 will be a good year, professionally. Thus, the leaders have the responsibility of carrying forward their teams, that are looking forward to the work.

The Bottom Line

The past year has, by no means, been easy for anyone. Employees have had to accept their changed working conditions and organizations have had to cope up with the loss of direct contact with the employees. 2021 is the year when employers have to be cognizant of the restrictions imposed and work out creatively how to still drive the team forward.

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