12 ways the workforce will change

In the past few months, the workforce has flipped on its head. One thing is for sure - the future of the workplace and workforce will be changing. 

So, what changes and developments will stick around? Twelve thought leaders weigh in on how they think the workforce will change once we’re back to normal.

A banner with headshots of the twelve thought leaders

1. An increased reliance on the gig economy

We expect to see a continued rise in the number of businesses relying on gig economy platforms for hiring needs. There are specialized platforms for just about every profession out there (hospitality, engineering, medical, construction etc.) providing the ability to fill any hiring need on-demand. COVID-19 made people realize how important it is to be nimble, to adapt, and to try new things in order to survive. Once business owners become willing to try a platform out, odds are they are going to stick with it.

Zack McCarty, Qwick

2. Better work-life balance

Remote work has long carried a stigma and struggled to co-exist with in-office culture. Social distancing has shone a new light on the ability to be productive away from the office. The reality that life is greater than work is officially displayed in the background where kids and pets visit our video conference calls over these past few months. Companies who thrive will begin to adapt and support that reality is living at work, not working to live.

Noah Wisnia, Head of Talent

3. Spending less on rent and more on benefits

Virtual meetings, electronic signatures, online training and development courses, and, telecommuting with flexible hours. I think we will see more companies reducing their brick and mortar footprint and reallocating the facility savings to increased benefits to employees.

Keith C Piscitello, Simply Sophisticated Wealth Planning, LLC

4. Taking turns in the office

Once offices do open up again, it will be rare to have all teammates come in at once. Teams will be assigned certain days or just be 100% remote. Leaders who were once skeptical about remote teams being productive are starting to recognize that it does work! I see large office spaces becoming a thing of the past and smaller, satellite offices increasing in popularity.

Michelle Diaz, Teammate Experience Manager

5. Testing out cloud-based collaboration

Companies operating with a distributed workforce during COVID-19 are being challenged to collaborate in the cloud rather than relying on in-person meetings. We'll likely see many companies evolving their remote work policies, which will result in a hybrid of in-person and remote teams. I think more and more companies will expect employees to be proficient in cloud-based collaboration and project management software.

Alex Lahmeyer, Diversity and Inclusion Lead

6. Allotting sufficient sick-time

One of the biggest changes we will see from companies is in regard to sick time and benefits. I think the pandemic has shown how seriously we need sick time benefits for employees. Not only does sick time allow your employee to get better and not give it to anyone else, but it also creates a stronger loyalty for the company that takes care of their team.

Tasia Andersen, Recruiter

7. Nixing the 9-5

Increased remote work and the elimination of the traditional “9-5” work structure. Now that both employers and employees have experienced a “new” way of doing work, many will not want to return to the old way of doing work. The fear that leaders may have had regarding a disconnected team or lack of productivity has been eased due to a forced situation. Additionally, employers have learned to look more at WHAT their teams are accomplishing and not the time of day at which it’s completed. For many companies, traditional hours and workdays may be a thing of the past.

Alex Reiff, Senior Director

8. Providing stress counseling "on-tap"

I think organizations will reevaluate how they support job functions and organizational culture in a distributed setting as part of their business continuity plan. During COVID-19 many companies will have learned that there is a difference between supporting employees working remotely versus supporting a distributed team. Leadership and People Operations (aka HR) will have to work together and adjust the people strategy to facilitate team camaraderie, collaboration, and emotional well-being for an extended period of time under stressful conditions. It is wise to have periodic retrospectives on how efficiently teams work when distributed, and having stress counseling on-tap is not a bad idea either.

Philip Botha, Culture Advantage

9. Focusing on hiring right

I imagine that working remotely will be more acceptable and accessible for most employees following COVID-19. Many companies that previously had no need for remote work options can now recognize productivity as independent from an office environment. And hopefully, employers will now take into consideration a good work ethic and self-motivation when hiring.

Catherine Howard, Digital Marketing Specialist

10. Embracing the benefits of eLearning

I think that more companies will embrace and see the benefits of remote work and eLearning. Though many companies were forced to make a quick transition to remote work and learning, and may still be working through how to best replicate in-person activities into a digital format, I think the effort will demonstrate how productive people can be working from their own homes. With the proper technology and communication, a remote working environment can lead to highly successful business outcomes and a high level of employee satisfaction. Additionally, more organizations will likely embrace digital learning platforms for their company onboarding processes, training, and learning and development. When done right, digital learning can save money, increase learning efficiency and retention, and buffer an organization against unknown future disruptions.

Brian Carlson, eThink Education

11. Deepening trust

Overall, in my opinion; I think this shift has created a deeper trust among our team. Given that the current environment has made so many shifts to this "new" style of work. Leaders are suddenly in a situation where they need to figure out how to inspire and empower a workforce that has a level of autonomy like never before. This also means figuring out how to approach delegation and communication differently as the frequency of contact has shifted. Taking these into account, I think one lasting effect of this epidemic will be a new, more flexible approach to work. One that is more focused on the outcome rather than the managing processes.

Steven M. Brown, DP Electric Inc.

12. Office closures

I’m not going to predict the “end of the office.” But, I’ll share that our company decided to close our office space for 2020 - and may go fully remote forever. Why? For a company of 15 employees, operating in a remote environment has been very efficient from a production and cost perspective. Plus, it’s safer. Just packing up our office and selling off the last of our furniture felt like the end of one chapter. Going remote and closing the office kickstarts an entire different chapter for small businesses like ours.

Brett Farmiloe, SaaS SEO Company

If you would like to discover how we at Texthelp could help you and your remote working teams, explore more about what we do, and how we can support you at this time