The Future of Work: Workplace Trends for 2021


The past 18 months have brought about many changes within the workplace. There are countless events that have led to rapidly changing work trends such as the pandemic forcing employees to work from home, social justice movements taking place throughout the world, vaccination concerns, and even the mental wellness of employees. A common quote during last year’s events was, “I can’t wait for life to return to normal”. However, it’s more than likely that the shift in workplace trends is here to stay. The future of work may be different than we ever could have imagined.

Here are a few trends that will be apparent in the workplace in 2021:

Hybrid environments

If there is one thing the pandemic showed businesses across the country, it’s that remote work is possible. Thousands of companies have made the decision to go completely remote after seeing their employees not only succeed but thrive in their roles while working from home. While not every business and organization has chosen to make the complete shift to virtual work, many have taken to the hybrid environment trend. A hybrid working model is a style of work that allows employees to work from different locations whether it be at home, in an office, or in a local coffee shop. This type of work model encourages employees to work wherever and however they see fit to promote their best personal productivity. 

Flexible working hours

Similar to how a hybrid environment has a positive impact on employees, flexible working hours have been extremely impactful. A flexible schedule allows employees to choose when they work. Every individual differs as to when they are the most productive, creative, and responsive. For some, it’s early in the morning, while others prefer to work in the evening or even late at night. Of course, this may not be feasible for every career, but it’s a trend that is on the rise. Flexible working hours have been shown to benefit time management skills, boost creative thinking, improve productivity, and promote a healthy work-life balance. Don’t be surprised if you start to notice more companies adopting this trend and giving their employees more freedom with their schedules!

Deeper care for overall wellness

On average, an individual will spend over 90,000 hours of their life working. For many people, a large portion of their day is spent working. Naturally, this can take a toll on overall health and wellbeing. In recent years there has been an emphasis on employee wellness within companies. Whether it has to do with millennials and Gen Z’s joining the workforce market, or the older generations quickly becoming burnt out, there is a new trend of wellness sweeping throughout the country. Many businesses are implementing strategies to prevent burnout, such as providing meditation subscriptions for employees. Others are making their office spaces brighter, putting soft seating around the office for a change of scenery, or filling their fridges with healthy snacks. These workplace and overall wellness trends are likely to stick around, as it’s a great way for businesses and organizations to take care of their employees while boosting job retention and satisfaction. 

Passion for work 

Just as employers are wanting to make sure their employees aren’t dealing with burnout or work fatigue, companies are also changing their narrative on dealing with health issues. It’s safe to assume this trend began in light of the pandemic. Employees are encouraged to stay home if they’re feeling under the weather, and some are given sick days on top of their allotted paid time off. Additionally, many businesses and organizations are taking it one step further and placing an emphasis on health in different ways. For example, knowing that countless hours spent looking at a computer screen can cause damage to the eye, companies like Warby Parker recommend non-prescription lenses that filter out blue light throughout the day. Not only is this helping to prevent damage to the eyes in the future, but it can also prevent fatigue headaches that are brought on by screens throughout the day. Little actions, like this, that are taken on by employees and employers are the type of health trends you should expect to see in the workplace in 2021. Stay in communication with your people team, and see what health and safety protocol they’ve implemented in the last year and a half. It’s important employees are actively ensuring their employers have their best interest as a top priority. 

Wholesome culture

It’s no surprise that people are looking for a more wholesome workplace culture, knowing they spend a majority of their days with their coworkers. There are many things that make up a wholesome workplace culture. It can be as simple as encouraging employees to eat lunch together or setting up zoom calls to meet people outside of their department. It can mean giving coworkers shoutouts, celebrating little wins, or dedicating Fridays as a casual dress code day. On a larger scale, individuals are looking to work at companies that promote diversity and inclusion. A diverse culture means a wide variety of ages, genders, and races. This type of environment fosters blossoming relationships and open-minded thinking that can reflect in the work that employees are doing day in and day out. It’s important to enjoy the place you work and the people around you, which is why a wholesome culture is a trend that’s here to stay.

For many people, change is hard to adapt to. However, when businesses and organizations adopt these trends, it can improve company culture, improve productivity, prevent complacency and ensure individuals are remaining healthy and happy in both their professional and personal lives. These trends, and more that were not mentioned within this article, are likely here to stay for the time being.