The Top 8 Workplace Trends That Influenced 2020 and the HR Ecosystem

It is up to the employees to use these trends in a healthy way — there are still many opportunities to shape the world of work the way we want to. With careful leadership, the trend of working remotely can be actually taken in new regards and utilised positively.

Every part of 2020 has been full of uncertainties, and the workplace was no exception either. Without any time for preparing for the pandemic, the workplaces across the world were forced into a lot of significant changes in a short period of time. Dynamics of many things have been changing too. 

Although technology has acquired new meaning and importance, it has, more often than not, reminded us that connections based on technology alone are not enough for humans to survive. Despite this fact, there are many domains of work that have benefited from the new technological advancements. 

There are so many areas that have found this new normal a boon, while others have suffered to an extent. All in all, the pandemic has provided the workplace with an opportunity to revisit and reform some of the critical aspects and has created new workplace trends. 

Let us familiarise ourselves to the changes introduced into the ecosystem of HR in 2020. 

1) Redefining HR goals

Since there has been a wave of anxiety and distress around the world due to this pandemic, the human resources departments have had to focus on not only performing their regular job but also add managing this anxiety to their job profile. 

It is very important for the employees to feel grounded and safe in the organisation that they are working in. At the same time, it is of utmost importance for the employees to have a sound mental and physical health. 

Apart from providing opportunities to seek help for the same, HR worldwide has also been widely working towards making this new normal a manageable, and if possible, motivating space for the employees. There have been trials and errors in terms of many rules. 

Hence, any aspect that has been found to be working in favour of the employees is immediately put to good use as per the changes introduced into the ecosystem of HR due to covid impact.

2) Survival and wellness

While people are forced to work from home due to the pandemic, there is a large number of people who have been saving a lot of time they otherwise spent travelling. 

While it has been distributed now evenly with their family duties, many have found solace in taking up hobbies and classes they always wanted to but never had time for. 

While the initial sentiment was that we only need to make it alive through this year, the prolonged duration of the pandemic made people quickly realise that it is important to pay attention to overall wellness and not just physical health. 

3) Changed market trends and patterns

There were tours booked for this year which eventually had to be cancelled. Before the pandemic, the travel industry was expected to flourish. However, the sector suffered a great deal of loss this year. 

On the other hand, there were newer industries that gained popularity for the services they are offering. One such example is video conferencing applications. They did not hold this level of importance at the beginning of this year. 

But as the year progressed, these applications were well received by people. The definition of growth is changing indeed. 

4) A new definition of productivity

Earlier, the world believed in numbers. Numbers were the way to prove your competence — not that this parameter is going away any time soon. However, more than achieving competence in a specific area, the focus is on overall productivity. 

There are many domains of a person’s life that have needed their focus, apart from their work. So the definition of productivity has gone under reconstruction. If your employees are living in difficult conditions, then it is considered to be a symbol of productivity if they simply show up online for work. If your employees have a difficult day with children, then even doing the bare minimum is sufficiently productive. Further, along with this reconstruction, there is also a lot of subjectivity of what is productive for whom. 

There has been a stop on judging all employees on the same scale. Because of the changes introduced into the ecosystem of HR in 2020, it has been possible to look at employees from a more humane lens, rather than looking at them as a sum total of their contribution to the bottom line.

5) Change in socialising

Other than money, what makes people stay in workplaces is the workplace environment. Because of being forced to work from home, many people, who could not socialise with their colleagues, started to face burnout. 

Newly joined employees are also finding it difficult to gel well as there are lesser opportunities to bond with coworkers apart from work. Since employees are not spending their free time at work together, there is also a lack of conscious efforts made to develop that kind of setting and bond. 

6) Importance of office space

Working from home is not as rosy as it sounds. Many people had previously thought that it would be a nice change to receive one assignment as work from home wherein they can utilise the rest of their day for other things. 

But working from home is different than working from other spaces. Many people worked from spaces like cafés, open spaces, co-working spaces etc. But being forced to work from home has taken a toll on the work-home boundaries. 

People who once cribbed about their office spaces are the ones who would now do anything to have the old workplace trend back in place. When we bicker about things, we do not realise how important they are, and that has been the story of everyone with their office. Even though people hated getting up and coming to offices every day, having a working space is very beneficial. 

A lot of people are having difficulty in drawing lines between personal and professional life these days. And hence, a separate workplace has gained all the more importance. To set the tone for work cognitively as well, working spaces are important. 

7) Redefining the rules

Along with the changes that happened to staffing and hiring in 2020, there have been revisions of the rules people followed in the COVID era. Since online spaces do not allow a lot of time for ice breakers, there are alternate trends that have to be followed.

Since there is a lack of accuracy in reading non-verbal signs from coworkers, there has been a practice to accurately verbalise what you feel. Also, there are times when people feel like they do not want to spend their day in front of a screen. It is difficult to brainstorm while a video conference is on. 

Some companies have then adapted the pattern of sending the meeting agenda in advance so that it allows the employees some time and liberty to think about things to be discussed and then hold a meeting.

8) Focus on spending effective time than more time

In accordance with the changes introduced into the ecosystem of HR in 2020, there have been companies which have adapted the pattern of delegating the week’s targets to their employees right in the beginning of the week.

Instead of being in virtual meetings all day, the focus is more on conducting meetings twice or thrice a month but with a more effective agenda and purpose. Doing so gives employees the liberty to work on their terms and their schedules all week, but there is also a regular check on them so that they are not too swayed by overlapping boundaries. 

There is a regulation on them but only tight enough for them not to feel too lost. Otherwise, they have been trusted with the responsibility they are given, and they have been given freedom of choice for the same.

Although these are the trends that have been set by this swift year, it is up to the employees to use them in a healthy way. In the situation that we are forced to be in, there are still many opportunities to shape the world of work the way we want to. With careful leadership, the trend of working from home or working remotely can be actually taken in new regards and utilised to shape it positively.

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