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How the pandemic might affect the world of work in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, particularly at work. Work schedules, tools, environments and priorities have been impacted by the health crisis. Read on to find out why working in 2021 could be different.
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More flexible working

One of the biggest changes caused by the pandemic was the sudden switch to working from home. Whether they were prepared or not, organisations needed to rely on remote working overnight. While working from home became the new normal, we also saw a change in working hours. At times parents were juggling childcare responsibilities and others were clocking in earlier or working later to accommodate a new routine. Advantages of flexible working, such as improved work-life balance and productivity, have been observed over the past year. While offices will re-open when it is safe, many organisations are expected to keep remote and flexible working options available to their staff, even if it is only for one or two days per week.

 

 

Continued online collaboration

The pandemic highlighted the importance of technology for remote working and online collaboration from the very beginning. This accelerated the uptake of different technologies in the workplace as organisations came to depend on them to continue their work in a new environment. Communications platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams were heavily relied on and have proven essential for efficient and effective communication between colleagues, departments and businesses around the world. These technologies have become increasingly popular and are likely to stick around in 2021.

 

Safer work environments

Health and safety in the workplace has never been more important. New and improved protocols such as regular hand washing, sanitising and general cleanliness have been crucial during the pandemic and are not likely to be forgotten in the near future. Improved ventilation, air quality and security could also be introduced to protect employees from future health risks. Many workplaces will be expected to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to their employees and may be able to use this to attract new workers.

 

Bigger focus on mental health

Recent discussions around mental health have been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that came with it. Employees around the world have had to manage childcare, work-life balance and different communication methods as they worked during the pandemic. With options to work remotely likely to stay, employers may need to work hard to ensure their employees are engaged with, to continue to build a healthy work culture and to make the wellbeing of staff a priority.

These are just four ways that the world of work may look different in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. If you are interested to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work, see our How employers can address the gender imbalance created by COVID-19 and Four job sectors in high demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Related links:

Zoom

Microsoft Teams

How employers can address the gender imbalance created by COVID-19

Four job sectors in high demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

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Disclaimer: Please note that neither EURES nor the European Commission endorse any of the third-party websites mentioned above

08/04/2021

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Articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. Their content does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Labour Authority (ELA) or the European Commission. Furthermore, EURES and ELA do not endorse third party websites mentioned above.