The past couple of years have put unprecedented stress on most businesses around the globe. With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, lockdowns, and a global recession looming large, many organizations are busy redefining the ‘new’ workplace. While this evolution is normal, keeping up with all the economic changes, advancement in technology, and modern workplace trends can be challenging.

This article aims to lay out insights on upcoming workplace trends for 2021 and provide actionable advice that helps business leaders refine their internal strategy.

3 Reasons to Improve Your Workplace

A good working environment is known to directly impact employees’ productivity and is a significant contributor to your organization’s success. This increases overall employee happiness, boosts morale, reduces absenteeism, and motivates them to deliver positive results. 

Having an understanding of exactly why you should invest in a positive workplace, paired with a knowledge of upcoming workplace trends, will set your business up for great internal success. Let’s dive into four of the largest workplace trends for next year. 

4 Workplace Trends for 2021

1. Remote Work Has the Edge

The traditional office-centric approach has long dominated the workplace landscape. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to adopt remote working. A study by Buffer reveals that once workers try remote work, 90 percent of them plan to work remotely for the rest of their careers. The same study also outlines that employees are comfortable with the newfound freedom as it allows them to redefine their work-life balance.

Additionally, workplace technology has considerably evolved over the past decade, and managing remote workers is not as hard as it once was. You now have access to a whole range of communication tools, time management platforms, and productivity tools. All these aspects combined may well have given remote work the upper hand, and its adoption is on a meteoric rise. According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote work has risen by 173 percent between 2005 and 2018 in the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Remote work is growing in popularity year over year.
  • Technology makes remote worker management easier than ever before.
  • Businesses need to focus on building agile workplaces that support this trend.
  • The adoption of communication softwares such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Slack are increasing.

To access more resources on how to take your small business remote, check out The Small Business Guide for Going Remote

2. The Uprise of Flexible Work Schedules

For a long time now, the nine to five grind seemed unavoidable for many employees. COVID-19 has pushed 88 percent of organizations to encourage their employees to work from home on a flexible schedule. This newly discovered flexibility has allowed workers to compare their working conditions to the traditional office schedules, and 71 percent claim that rigid work schedules negatively impact their personal life.

In New Zealand, a company even tested the sustainability of a four-day workweek over a period of two months. Their experiment showed an increase in employee engagement by 20 percent, while stress level was down by seven percent. Moreover, Flexjobs recently reported that some workers would rather go for a flexible workforce than medical coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Employees view flexible schedules as a benefit, and this could help attract and retain top talent.
  • A flexible work schedule contributes to employee wellness, increases employee engagement, and reduces stress levels.
  • Managing flexible schedules or different shifts can be simplified with the currently available technology, such as managing your remote team with a mobile app.

3. Generation Z Joining the Workforce

2021 will see a major change in the workplace demographic as Gen Z steadily joins the workforce. The oldest representative of this group is 23 years old, as this generation was born between 1997 and early 2020. Gen Z is expected to make up 36 percent of the workforce globally by 2021, and according to Forbes, this generation wants more independence.



Commonly known as digital natives, Gen Z was born and raised in a fast-paced world, where the internet has been ever-present. Gen Zers expect and need access to multiple digital tools in their workplace. It is essential you prepare your organization for the upcoming demographic shift, as Generation Z is forecasted to represent around 40 million workers in the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • You may need to adjust your workplace practices to cater to Gen Z.
  • Generation Z tends to be more practical in their educational and career approach.
  • Gen Zers were born during the internet-boom and expect digital collaboration tools to get the work done.

4. More Focus on Training and Up-skilling

With the workplace constantly evolving and the workforce demographics changing, employee training and up-skilling should be part of your strategy for 2021. As remote work and flexible schedules are getting more popular, so is the adoption of new softwares and tools. Is it essential you upskill your staff so that they make the most out of the tools at hand. Besides, with Gen Zers joining the workforce, training should be considered as a core function.

According to Harvard Business Review, training and upskilling nurtures top talent and helps retain them. Moreover, enhancing your employees’ capabilities can only prove beneficial for your business as it improves productivity while enhancing personal development. This can also lead to an increase in employee engagement and retention.

Key Takeaways

  • Employees are now using more tools and new softwares – training helps them use these tools to the best of their ability.
  • Training increases employee engagement and productivity.
  • It also helps you retain top talent and build high-performance teams.
  • Training allows you to nurture the leader of tomorrow.

The economic situation, advancement in technology, and the demographic changes in the workforce will set the trend in 2021. The workplace is evolving fast, and the best way to stay on top is by embracing change and making it work for you. While adjusting to all these trends may appear challenging, the long-term rewards are well worth it. At the end of the day, it is critical that you provide a healthy and adequate workplace for your staff since this positively impacts your overall business revenue.

Author Bio

Chloe’s why is people; she gets her kicks from intensifying the purpose and exploring the potential of those around her. She works as Head of People & Culture at Deputy, a robust scheduling software that can be used to manage your workforce in a wide variety of different industries. Chloe sees her work as an extension of her lifestyle and is constantly working on revolutionizing the people and culture space.