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Workplace Group Predicts 10 Work Trends That Companies Should Prepare For in 2021

  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology releases eighth annual list of anticipated workplace trends
  • Some expected trends related to COVID-19 conditions, with remote work leading the list
  • Other issues predate pandemic, including the changing nature of work and inclusive practices

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

While the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced expectations for trends that will effect the workplace in the coming year, other issues predate the pandemic and will continue to affect how companies do business.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology released its eighth annual list of issues that are most likely to impact workplaces in the coming year. The organization represents a field that researches workplace issues at the individual and organizational level and advises how to improve the well-being and performance of employees; the list is based on responses to two online surveys of 7,000 SIOP members fielded in October and November 2020.

Remote work is the top trend identified by these respondents, as many companies are likely to continue offering work-from-home and flexible work arrangements that became commonplace during the pandemic. Respondents also anticipate the continued prevalence of digital trends, including virtual learning and ensuring the effectiveness of across virtual and distributed environments, as well as an increased emphasis on employee well-being and safety.

Businesses that were agile and able to adapt to COVID-19 have been better able to manage the crisis, and it is anticipated that companies will work to be prepared for any future challenges. Work-life integration has also gained importance, as workers seek to balance their personal lives and careers while working from home.

Respondents also said they expect companies to continue placing importance on social justice, inclusive practices, and equity and diversity. For the fifth straight year, the changing nature of work made the list amid ongoing trends such as the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence.

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