Digital Workplace Source: Farzad N on Unsplash

Working in 2021: Four digital workplace trends in the year ahead

30. March 2021 Published by Raphael Doerr

This post about Digital Workplace Trends was published on LinkedIn on 21 January by Ralf Lueb. The post can be viewed, liked and shared at this link.

2020 saw far-reaching changes for many of us. A lack of contact and physical community has left its mark not only on many people’s private lives, but also turned the work culture upside down at numerous companies. Working from home has now become the daily place of work for many knowledge workers, and digitalization has now reached just about every company. The personal workspace has now become a digital workplace.

While many are looking forward fervently to 2021 and just want to leave the old year behind them, one thing is clear: The digital workplace will not disappear with the advent of a Covid-19 vaccine. Most companies have been forced to undergo a culture change due to the coronavirus and resulting lockdowns – and that process has gone too far to be reversed. So what will the digital workplace look like in the year to come? In a year that will likely be one of transition between combating the pandemic and a return to the new “normal”?

Four digital workplace trends in 2021

  1. The hybrid workplace will become the new normal

While 2020 was the year of working from home, the hybrid workplace will increasingly become the new standard in the coming year. More and more companies are announcing that they also intend to also let their workforce decide in the future whether they prefer to work from the office or remotely. That means the digital workplace has to function anywhere and also be mobile. That not only impacts the space companies provide for their employees, but also the infrastructure – at the company and also with the individual employee. In the future, meetings will have to be held in such a way that employees congregate physically and other colleagues can also join in digitally, for example. State-of-the-art webcam and audio solutions are needed for that.

  1. Communication at work will continue to change

It’s not only meetings that need to be adapted to the new conditions. All other communication at work is also becoming more and more digital – and that affects how we communicate. While you often used to have to walk to a (personal) office to talk with the boss, it’s now mostly enough to send a chat message using one of the typical collaboration programs – which may mean a more frequent and, in some cases, more informal exchange with your supervisor. Communication with customers and partners is also shifting more and more to digital channels, where the often more relaxed forms of interaction can raise relationships to a new level.

  1. Analytics is on the advance

Digitalization of the workplace also opens up new possibilities in the field of analytics, with Microsoft showing how it’s done. The Workplace Analytics service is one of the more prominent ways that companies can obtain insights into how their employees work and use the findings to optimize their (IT) resources. The more work is carried out in the digital arena (buzzwords: unified communications and collaboration), the more revealing these insights are – and the greater the potential for optimization the company can leverage.

  1. More mindfulness for well-being

It’s a familiar phenomenon: The time you used to travel to work is now often spent sitting longer in front of the PC. Work has penetrated private life to a greater extent as a result of working from home. Whether you tick that off as a positive aspect (work-life integration) or it secretly annoys you, the fact is that working from home, job insecurity as a result of the crisis, and extra stress impact the well-being of many employees. Here, too, digital tools can help preserve the separation between work and private life. Or you can do it the old-fashioned way: Simply switch off or mute your business smartphone when you finish work.

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