As your business and goals have grown over the years, your company culture has most likely evolved along with them. But nothing will change it quite like COVID-19 has. Chances are that in 2020, both you and your employees learned that the old ways of doing business aren’t the only paths towards positive results. It’s entirely possible to shake up your traditions and see improvement. This discovery — along with the continued impact of a pandemic — will have a drastic impact on company culture trends in 2021.
And while many business owners and managers may want to avoid focusing on company culture this year, studies have found that it’s more important to your employees than ever.
And Generation Z — the latest generation to hit the workforce — claims the cultural aspects of a company are more than twice as important as other issues, like income and job security.
Welcoming Remote Work
When the pandemic lockdown began in March 2020, many companies avoided a shutdown by sending their employees home to work remotely. Not only did it work, but both employees and managers found that it made the company more productive. Many employees have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home, and it’s important to continue to embrace this, even if you have a return to work plan in place for 2021.
Look for a shift to remote work, either full-time or some sort of hybrid that allows those who need to come into the office time to do so a few days a week. As a manager or company owner, prepare to be flexible to meet the needs of your workers, whether they want to continue working remotely or they want to get back into the office.
You’ll find that many companies will change their benefit plans to incorporate remote work, and that could include offering stipends for items like office furniture, high-speed Internet connection, and office materials.
Changed or Downsized Office Space
As more employees choose to work remotely, the size and look of your office will likely change. With this, you may find that you don’t need as much square footage or as many amenities as you did in 2019. You may also find that the location of your office isn’t as important as you meet with clients virtually rather than in person. Don’t be afraid to make a drastic change if it benefits your bottom line.
If you aren’t looking for a new lease, you should consider looking for ways to make changes in the office to keep your employees safer and healthier. This may mean cutting back on collaboration space in favor of more cubicles or private offices. You may also want to take the time and money to improve your air filtration system or consider implementing sensor technology that can allow you to know what surfaces are being used the most within your office.
Changes to Business Travel
In 2021, technology will definitely continue to replace non-essential business travel. Many companies may even find that they can do away with most business travel permanently. If you haven’t in 2020, take some time to overhaul your policies and see where you can make changes that keep your workers and client safe.
If you do continue with business travel, implement new rules. For example, make face masks mandatory for all employees who are traveling, and require them to work remotely and quarantine for two weeks upon arrival at home. Any employees who continue to travel should have access to hygiene education as it relates to the pandemic, as well as easy access to COVID-19 testing when either of you feels that it is necessary.
Healthier Work-Life Balance
One reason employees are happier working from home is that they find it’s easier to balance work and the rest of their lives. When your employees are happier and healthier, you see the results in your bottom line. In 2021, you’ll need to go the extra mile to prove that your company values its employees and their health.
More 1:1 Meetings
One change that isn’t necessarily related to the pandemic is the move from annual or bi-annual performance review to weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings with your employees. They’re more productive, less stressful and they lead to a better overall performance because your employee receives almost constant feedback on what they’re doing. It also provides you with more records that an issue has been discussed on multiple occasions should you need them for legal reasons, such as when terminating an employee.
Digitization has been trending for years, and that will continue into 2021. Virtual meetings will continue to take the place of getting together in-person, whether you’re talking to someone halfway around the world or someone who is three doors down the hallway. Companies will make more decisions based on data rather than human intuition. Mobile tools will become even more important than they already are, as will connectivity.
But that doesn’t mean making big decisions and letting them trickle down to your employees. In 2021, it’s important to let your employees be a part of your decision-making when it comes to technology.
Creating an Attractive Environment
It’s said that first impressions are everything, and that is true, even when it comes to your office environment. When potential new hires come in for an interview, they’re going to take a look around and see if the space feels right to them. Not only must it be comfortable, but there should be obvious proof that you are focused on health and safety and have made it part of your company culture, especially in a post-COVID-19 world.
From furloughs to layoffs, many of these potential employees have been through a lot professionally in 2020. Understandably, 2021 needs to be a time for them to heal, and you can help provide that by creating an office environment that’s attractive and welcoming to everyone.
Whether you’re providing office furniture for your remote workers or creating a safer, more inviting environment once they return to the office, CORT Furniture Rental is ready to assist your needs. We can help you get your business up and running again throughout 2021 and create a space that reflects your culture.