From a digital working world to brain recovery and work 4.0. Here you can find out what you can expect at work in the future.
Independent, healthier, and less work. The trends in the world of work in 2021 are seamlessly linked to 2020. A year that was largely shaped by Corona – no wonder that the pandemic has also had an impact on current trends.
New (Old) Trend Terms In The World Of Work
Let’s start with an overview.
A term that has already been with us in 2020. At the moment, the 5-day week is still common in Germany. The legislator stipulates a maximum working time of 10 hours a day and 48 hours a week. But the 4-day week has its advantages. Contrary to the assumption that less work is being done, the productivity and mood of workers increases. This is also confirmed by the BAua working time survey: In 2019, more employees than ever before wanted shorter working hours – and the trend is rising. The free weekday that is gained not only creates space for leisure activities, but also for important appointments that have to be done on working days.
The Austrian natural cosmetics manufacturer Brothers Untermeyer has already introduced the 4-day week, as has the Bike citizens company from Berlin. The Swiss studio A + O for strategy, graphics, and design is also banking on the trend.
According to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2021, more and more companies are relying on target-oriented further training for their employees. With employee reskilling, individual training opportunities are offered based on the current skills of the employees.
In a rapidly developing world of work, employees are confronted with a wide variety of tasks and challenges. In addition, there is growing digital consumption. Technology and digitization no longer only play a key role in leisure time, but also at work. Your head quickly starts to “smoke”. Brain recovery, also known as cognitive hygiene, is a break for your head. Such breaks are important in order to focus and work efficiently. The break does not have to be longer than 10 minutes. During this time you shouldn’t deal with work topics or look at the cell phone. Exercise, fresh air, and a short digital detox help regenerate the brain. The rule is a brain recovery at least every two hours so that you can start again.
The gender shift trend breaks with old thought patterns and stands for individual development. Gender is no longer important in everyday working life. Stereotypical role models are long out of date. An open corporate culture is developing more and more frequently in which the individual, with his or her personality and skills, is valued and perceived.
Influences Of Corona On Current Trends In The World Of Work
Corona did not invent most of the trends in the world of work, but it did bring them to the fore and revive them. So does neo-ecology. The Corona crisis clearly shows that we humans are part of nature and cannot control it. Sustainable values are all the more important in all areas of life. Above all, entrepreneurs have to put their thoughts and actions in the sense of sustainability. Because sustainability shouldn’t be a trend, but a fundamental framework.
New work is the new normal work. The corona crisis acts as an accelerator here. An agile, flexible and digital working world has become normal. Everything you need to know about New Work can be found here: Work redesigned: The New Work concept.
For most of them, the home office is no longer just a term. Employers and employees who had to switch to the home office due to Corona have seen that this concept works. The digitization boom caused by Corona makes communication via apps and video chat possible from home. And work too. In the home office, employees have all the resources they need to work effectively. As an alternative to Google, Zoom, and Co, advocates the fair use of shared resources relating to online services.
In 2021, more companies want to use hybrid work. With the Hybrid Work concept, employees have the option of working from the office or from any other location in the world. The traditional offices are also individually adapted to the company’s goals – no more boring open-plan offices.
Distance leadership goes hand in hand with the hybrid work concept. Employers or team leaders have to learn to instruct and lead their employees from a distance. When it comes to distance leadership, it is important not to fall into a controlled mania. The keyword is trust. In addition, the leadership should be goal-oriented, empathetic, and focus on the person rather than the process.
Further Challenges In The World Of Work In 2021
Digitization presents the work world upside down. Processes are being automated, machines and things are networked with one another via the Internet and the economy is also globally linked. Large amounts of data are generated in the process. This data needs to be protected. Security and data protection are extremely important topics for companies in 2021. In addition, in Germany, in the course of advancing digitization, there is talk of Work 4.0 – a fourth industrial revolution. Sustainability is also an issue in digitization. Companies have to save electricity and resources, recycle and act in a climate-neutral way.
Digitization also puts digital ethics on the agenda. Corporate digital responsibility stands for:
- Self-imposed ethical guidelines by companies, such as the transparent and responsible collection of data
- The promotion of digital self-determination
- Equal access to digital technologies
- The responsible use of artificial intelligence
- Pay attention to the ecological footprint
In general, digitization has a major impact on the environment. This is due, among other things, to increasing energy consumption and the short lifespan of digital end devices. More about effective and sustainable digitization: Digitization – and now? and how you can pay attention to digital sustainability yourself: Green Webhosting – make websites & blogs sustainable.
Also, diversity and inclusion and anti-racism are 2021 more and more important in business. Both topics have been in the focus of society for a long time and that’s exactly where they belong. Any kind of discrimination must be stopped. Equal rights and equality are the keywords here. Starting with gender, for some time now the daily news, for example, has been changing – a small step in the right direction. In addition, there was a rethinking of accessibility. In the past, the person concerned was provided with tools to overcome barriers. Today we are changing the environment in such a way that nobody is excluded or disadvantaged. An area that the diversity manager is also concerned with takes care of. If you are interested in anti-racism, a job in this field might be for you.
Here is a really good and serious “fun fact”: A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation from March 2020 found that the majority of employees were in favor of a “Veggie Day” in the canteen.
The Importance Of Meaning In The Job
Individual realization and gender shift play a similarly strong role in achieving something meaningful with one’s job. It will also be more and more important in the future to act sustainably and diversely, not only in one’s free time but also at work, to include and protect the environment – also with a view to digitization. With the 4-day week, brain recovery, hybrid work, and employee reskilling, the trends in the world of work in 2021 will also focus on people.