2021 and beyond. Top changes which we observed in 2020
Updated: Jan 11
by Ramesh Munamarty
Work from anywhere becoming the norm Empathy and mental health of employees becoming important Building towards a carbon negative future
Work from anywhere eliminating geographical boundaries
The trend of working from anywhere was catching on prior to the pandemic. However, the pandemic resulted in an exponential growth and a mindset shift for a number of organizations who ventured into working from anywhere for departments and locations that would not have even fathomed doing it prior to the pandemic.
A case in point is the contact center for emergency assistance services. Prior to the pandemic, the very thought of having a virtual contact center would have been shot down before it could be proposed, but post-pandemic not only has the contact center been moved to be virtual with agents answering calls from homes, but other departments are also planning to reduce cost by making operations virtual. Geographical boundaries are no longer playing a role in acquiring talent and enterprises are comfortable with virtual teams with best talent being sourced from anywhere in the world and continuing to work from there without having to relocate. This will have added benefits of employees becoming aware of the different cultures across the world and promoting harmony across the diversity of different races, color and religion.
Empathy and Mental health
It is ironic but unfortunately being physically away from each other has actually brought us closer.
People have become more empathetic to each other and more accommodative of personal challenges of their employees. As the offices have moved to the homes, fellow employees got a closer peek at the families, enquired about them and empathized with their issues. Meetings getting interrupted with crying babies, sounds of excited kids playing and general snafus were all taken in stride. The empathy to employees, and a closer bonding were the positives. On the negative side, however, extended periods of working from home, juggling kids’ online education, lost jobs, increased working hours and multiple people struggling to be online led to much higher levels of stress and mental health issues. In some countries and households, it was more difficult than others to work from home as homes were not designed to dual function as offices. Due to the high cost of living in some countries/cities, multiple families stayed together in an apartment resulting in challenging situations when everyone was expected to work online. Small and medium businesses struggled to make ends meet and this also exacerbated to a society where mental health issues were on a rapid rise most of the year. In future, employers will be more conscious of mental health issues amongst the employees and empathize with their fellow employees.
Carbon Negative Future
The pandemic has brought more awareness to the looming problem of global warming and carbon emissions. A brief hiatus of pollution due to reduced traffic and factory emissions resulted in a welcome glimpse of starry skies and beautiful views of mountains and greenery from the cities.
A number of companies took resolutions to be carbon negative in the near future and have actively working towards realizing that goal.
For example, Microsoft said that it will be carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. Many companies have made sustainability a key KPI and the awareness among the general public has also risen significantly. This will hopefully put brakes to the rapid deterioration in our environment and preserve the delicate balance of our planet.