By Gaurang Sinha
As the year 2020 is finally coming to an end, we must reflect on the challenges we had to tackle, and the innovative solutions that have helped us navigate through the struggles caused by the ongoing pandemic. Businesses across all sectors have fast-tracked their digital transformation and have adopted the latest technologies to continue functioning. Let’s talk about what the year ahead holds for businesses and their employees.
- Continued upskilling and personal growth
Gone are the days when employees could sustain their career for a good 30-40 years by learning one or two key skills in their 20s and capitalizing on it throughout their career. Upskilling or re-skilling has always been crucial for growth, but the economic and job uncertainty of 2020 has further hit that point. Even though employers do step up their upskilling offerings, one fact remains constant: professionals should take personal responsibility for their own reskilling plan. While COVID-19 resulted in many companies laying off their employees, it also forced companies to reassign tasks to many employees in their existing workforce. And we may see this trend continue in 2021. The pandemic did not produce the requirement for upskilling or reskilling. Instead, it provided a simple, beneficial way for decision-makers to deal with serious issues otherwise often placed on the back seat. In such times where we have more unsupervised working than ever before, it is vital to focus on upskilling employees to increase productivity and performance.
- Flexibility – the new norm to swear by:
Flexibility will become the norm as businesses have started to rethink nine to five working hours. This rollercoaster year has already seen extreme changes in the gig economy. The flexibility provided will eventually become the norm among businesses globally. Whether it’s moving away from unbending working hours or giving teams new responsibilities, the trend is set to continue. The flexibility of work is now essential to survive the pandemic as people need to ensure they have a good work-life balance – not only for their mental wellbeing and health but also for productivity and work satisfaction. To fruitfully thrive in 2021, businesses should start to reconsider the rigid working hours and allow their employees the autonomy to uncover how they work most productively. With a good regulation set, organisations can provide maximum flexibility for workers and at the same time giving them rock-solid social rights.
- Enhanced productivity tools
Working from home could become a permanent aspect for some job profiles, with location constraints no longer a problem, as executives at leading companies said it improved productivity during the ongoing pandemic. Teams or organisations who have never in the past worked remotely are finding new pain points with the software they’re currently using. Expect to see newer tools that take unique approaches to a range of organizational needs, like file sharing, remote onboarding and learning management, and client management. Existing tools will provide additional seamless integration with one another, offering a better and smooth experience for their users across multiple platforms.
- Virtual events
Not only has the Covid-19 affected our economy, health, and personal and social lives, it has also essentially challenged the way brands market themselves, specifically in the form of conducting events, conferences and exhibitions. We have seen multiple business and editorial events taking place online, from summits to awards and much more. Will virtual events become the norm eventually? Or will we all simply go back to business as usual? Well, with virtual events, not only can organisations and brands commit to a reduced carbon footprint and reduced waste, but delegates can also feel assured that they are also doing their bit for the environment which is, of course, our purpose-led world today. Changing and re-planning to take a more considerate and sustainable approach to deliver virtual events for a longer term could in fact be a game-changer.
- AI and machine learning- A growing need
Artificial intelligence has extended its grip on our lives throughout this year. Even as this pandemic forced many data scientists to work from their homes, AI-driven innovations continued to pour from the smartest minds across the globe. AI is a centerpiece of the “new normal” in all our lives. AI & ML have retained relevance owing to their direct impact on the business bottom-line. AI has proved to be an invaluable tool in empowering companies to continue functioning efficiently with limited employees and in a disturbed economy. Undoubtedly these technologies will stay at the forefront of leading the world in the coming year.
The author is Director, Go-to-market Strategy at Flock