2020 has been a uniquely difficult and challenging year, and many of us are looking towards a better 2021. However, very few of us are expecting next year to be any sort of return to “normal”. In order to help intranet and digital workplace teams plan for the year ahead, we’ve produced “Digital Workplace Trends 2021: Creating a digital employee experience for the hybrid workforce”, a free report that explores the main trends we expect to see in 2021, and the key questions teams need to consider.
You can use the report to:
- Kickstart your thinking or planning process
- Carry out a sense check on your existing plans
- Start conversations with stakeholders or within your team
- Support a business case for digital workplace investment.
In this article we’re going to explore each of the nine key trends and how you can plan your strategy for 2021. To gain the full insights download “Digital Workplace Trends 2021: Creating a digital employee experience for the hybrid workforce” now.
Digital workplace trend #1: Focusing on the frontline
During 2020, many firstline staff who previously had limited access to digital channels were connected for the first time, receiving critical updates about the pandemic and supporting business continuity. In 2021, we see this focus on the frontline continuing, extending access to any frontline staff still not connected, and building on capabilities that then drive efficiency and engagement.
Digital workplace trend #2: Ramping up collaboration
The sheer pace at which collaboration tools have been accelerated and rolled out in 2020 has led to some issues. Due to the “need for speed”, some governance measures were bypassed, as well as opportunities to provide more targeted support around the specific needs of different groups. In 2021, we expect teams to take stock and spend more time on optimizing collaboration platforms through more comprehensive governance and support approaches.
Digital workplace trend #3: The hybrid workplace
Building on the scaling-up of remote working, in 2021 we expect to see more of a “hybrid workplace”, with people working both from home and at a company premises. A recent survey of our customers confirmed this with 79% planning to move fully to a hybrid workplace. In 2021, we expect digital workplace teams to support hybrid patterns of work by providing the right tools and resources, as well as ensuring physical workplaces are optimized for new ways of working.
Digital workplace trend #4: Wellbeing gets an upgrade
In 2020 wellbeing has been a major theme due to the stress of the pandemic, uncertainty around job security, and isolation felt from working remotely. Next year wellbeing in the workplace will continue to be a major focus with social tools and content providing connection, community and a focus on health and support. Efforts to provide a coordinated digital workplace experience may also reduce technostress.
Digital workplace trend #5: Moments matter even more
Investment in strong digital employee experiences across the “moments that matter” in the employee life cycle has been a direction of travel for HR teams, but in 2020, the digital side has become even more important. With face-to-face interactions reduced, the ability to provide a good digital onboarding experience or online learning has become even more of a priority. In 2021, we expect teams to focus on more well-thought-through onboarding and learning experiences and for employee experience to be established as a key strategic pillar across organisations.
Digital workplace trend #6: Communications reimagined
In 2020 leaders communicated differently – sharing informal, authentic, and far more powerful messages, often by video from home, and sometimes engaging in dialogue with employees using social tools. This has created a powerful sense of connection, stronger messaging and has been liberating for leaders. In 2021, we expect that this will have a lasting impact on internal communications, with more informality, video and two-way conversations.
Digital workplace trend #7: The effortless workplace
A common pain point for employees is that there are simply too many applications, websites and channels to access, leading to inefficiency, frustration and technostress. In 2021 organizations will be trying to provide a more effortless digital workplace experience that provides an easy way to navigate to essential systems and content from wherever employees are in the digital workplace, increasing productivity and reducing noise and stress.
Digital workplace trend #8: Rise of the intelligent workplace
In 2020, AI was working quietly behind the scenes, delivering value through various tools, but in ways that weren’t always immediately obvious. AI is ensuring digital workplaces are evolving gradually into intelligent workplaces; we see this as a key trend for 2021, helping to support better productivity through the automation of repetitive tasks, allowing employees to quickly find content, resources, peers and more.
Digital workplace trend #9: The new analytics
Digital workplace and people analytics have been evolving with new opportunities to analyse data from systems to support real-time and critical decision-making. The profound changes of 2020 mean it’s necessary to look at analytics again, with new analytics available from the increase in digital interactions that will also reflect the reality of scaled-up remote working. We can see teams refreshing and recalibrating their analytics strategies and reporting approaches.