One of the trends we predicted for 2020 was the increasing prominence of the new way to work – a shift away from the traditional work model toward one that’s more flexible and worker-centric, underscored by the increasing acceptance of working from home and the boom of the gig economy.
Little did anyone know – or could have predicted – how true that statement would be, in all the most unexpected ways. From government-mandated lockdowns to companies shifting to a full-time work-from-home model wherever possible, the way work gets done changed drastically.
For some, that change is permanent. Twitter made the decision to let every employee who doesn’t need to be in the office (such as to maintain servers) work from home forever if they choose to. In a similar vein, Microsoft announced that some level of working from home would become a permanent part of their culture, with an emphasis on giving employees the flexibility to mold their work choices to fit their lifestyle.
Other major companies like Facebook, Shopify and Slack have also embraced the new reality that’s normalized and elevated working from home.
When the world opens back up again, it’s clear that the work environment won’t simply return to the way it was. Gallup data shows that 65% of workers would prefer to continue working from home post-COVID.
Similarly, IBM found that nearly 85% of respondents surveyed in the middle of 2020 wanted to work at home in some capacity after lockdowns lifted, with 58% saying they wanted their main way of working to be remote.
Salesforce research offers perhaps the most acute perspective. Of participants in a May 2020 survey, 69% agreed that “the pandemic will permanently change the nature of work.” Another survey in June found that working from home full time would be the most appealing option for 37% of respondents, with another 32% saying a split between home and the office would be their choice.
It’s clear that an increasingly remote, digital work environment won’t disappear once the pandemic is over. The ways in which organizations adjust to this reality will play a major role going forward and particularly affect the next four trends on our list.