Man Working From Home On Laptop

Zoho Corporation, a global technology company, has delivered its predictions for remote work and hiring in 2021. One of the headline predictions champions ‘anywhere+office’ hybrid work to take over from full-time remote work, as the new favourite business work model in 2021.

This is according to Ranjendran Dandapani, Director of Technology for Zoho, who predicts that once employees are no longer at significant risk of contracting COVID-19 in the UK, businesses will start to roll-out a combination of remote and on-site work, which may see employees come to the office for only a few days a week or month.

“While some employees will prefer work-from-home as it allows them to be more productive, provides flexibility, prevents the office commute and supports location independence, others will opt for the office as they feel face-to-face interactions with peers are necessary to be productive,” commented Ranjendran.

Some of Zoho Corporation’s other 2021 trends predictions included the following:

Hub-and-spoke offices

An office style that might gain further traction is the hub-and-spoke workspace. Organisations may have their central headquarters (hub) for periodic team gatherings and strategy discussions, and a network of small satellite offices spread across various small towns or rural villages in a country. The model promises a two-way benefit. The small offices will substantially reduce operational costs for organisations while also allowing employees to work in an office that's closer to their hometowns. This will ensure a true revitalisation of tier-2 and tier-3 locations, as businesses slowly realise that they need not be based in a metropolitan area.

Adoption of HR tech

As remote work continues to take off, the adoption of cloud-based HR technologies will increase to provide seamless employee experience while working remotely, and to keep employees engaged and productive. To facilitate virtual hiring, onboarding, learning and development, performance management and smart decision-making, many organisations will start using cloud-based HR tech.

Remote hiring

The way organisations hire employees has changed drastically in 2020. In-person interviews were quickly replaced by video interviews and Zoho predicts:

  1. The focus will shift instead to automated and manual evaluation of historic proof available online of a person's capabilities, as demonstrated by their contribution to open source technology platforms, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  2. Soft skills like communication, collaboration, teamwork, and adaptability will be given more importance while evaluating applicants.
  3. Diversity and inclusion will become an integral part of the recruitment strategy and many organisations will be able to improve workforce diversity with remote work.
  4. From an applicant's point of view, the best talent will look for companies that offer remote work, flexible policies, better health cover and enable more family-time and a lower cost of living. Perks like gourmet cafeterias, gyms, game rooms, nap pods, and unlimited free snacks will lose their appeal.

Changing performance assessment trends

One of the key business aspects that has changed considerably through remote work is performance management. Organisations will start measuring what matters: work done instead of hours worked, and missions accomplished instead of tasks completed.

Some companies are making performance reviews an ongoing process, giving up annual routines. Continuous feedback will become an essential aspect of employee management, which will help the workers clearly navigate their job responsibilities and expectations when they work remotely. Rethinking the goal-setting approach and identifying the correct things to measure is the first step towards sanity, in this new normal.

Multi-gig economy

A multi-gig economy is sure to become a reality post-COVID. Given the dilution of geographic boundaries, more and more skilled professionals will be tempted to take on multiple working engagements - one that pays their bills, and another that stokes their passion, for example.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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