We’ve made it into the second month of 2021! Even though we learned that nothing is 100% predictable the hard way in 2020, we do see some major HR trends taking shape that impact workplace wellness. Today, we share our thoughts on these top 5 HR trends for 2021.
1. Remote Workspaces
Many of us are working remotely still due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Plus, it’s anticipated that many workers will continue to be able to work from home long-term. It’s important to create an effective and productive workspace when working from the home office.
Thus, our first HR trend of 2021 is around remote workspaces. We are seeing organizations evaluate their benefits and add funds to help employees create the ideal workspace. Employees are no longer able to come in to an ergonomic space, with nice chairs and desks. They can’t enjoy the treats and drinks in the common kitchen space. In response, some companies are providing employees with home office stipends. I’ve seen up to $1,000 a year! Employees can expense any updates to their office – new monitors, keyboards, chairs – or even some snacks and beverages that they may have enjoyed in the office before.
We love this trend! Not only does it help employees create a comfortable workspace but it shows that the company is invested in the employee experience, even when it’s remote. We can’t wait to see other creative ways companies come up with to help with remote workspaces!
2. Remote Connection
Our second HR Trend for 2021 is all about connecting in a remote world. Along the same lines as the last trend, many employees are feeling disconnected while shifting to fully remote work. It’s important to make connections, build networks, and strengthen friendships at work.
While it’s harder to feel connected in a remote work environment, there are some things that leaders and HR professionals can do. For example, providing employees with various networking groups, virtual mentoring programs, and lunch events can encourage employees across departments and teams to interact. We’ve seen book clubs, lunch and learns, and virtual happy hours be effective. It’s important for companies to provide some flexibility in the work week for employees to interact in more casual, less task-related ways.
3. Work-Life Enrichment
Recently, we talked about how quality time with your kids can impact your work. Number three on our HR Trends of 2021 ties in nicely – work-life enrichment. We often think about how work and life can conflict and our constant struggle to find balance – which can be even harder when working remotely. However, research shows that work and life can complement each other. You can enrich your work from your life experiences and vice versa.
This focus on enrichment needs to be built into our HR systems and processes. Not only should HR be working on helping employees with their balance, they can also be working on helping employees see the enrichment that is possible from both domains. This is a more challenging trend but will be worth it as HR works towards helping employees manage the complexities of work and life.
4. Flexible Schedules
The pandemic provided a lot more employees with the opportunity to work from anywhere. We are hopeful that it’ll lead to continued flexibility in work location. As location flexibility continues, our fourth HR Trend of 2021 surrounds time flexibility.
Recently, we talked about how flexible schedules can improve wellness. Organizations are shifting their focus on bringing in talent from across the country and world since location is mattering less. With different time zones, flexibility in work hour should follow. HR and leadership need to work on policies to allow employees to create schedules that fit their life and needs. Everyone can win as employees get their work done when needed while working around their other responsibilities.
5. Diversity, EQUITY, and Inclusion
Finally, number 5 on our list of HR Trends for 2021 is all about focusing on equity in addition to diversity and inclusion. 2020 saw a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to multiple murders at the hands of police. This led to many companies revisiting their D&I strategies. Part of that trend has been an increased focus on equity. We know diversity at work isn’t successful unless the environment and people are inclusive. Additionally, bias in systems will continue to exist if they aren’t addressed directly. Thus, HR and leadership needs to actively address equity concerns across organizational processes and systems. Hopefully, this trend will continue strong through 2021 and move from being a trend to a consistent best practice in business.
Other HR Trends for 2021?
We cannot wait to see how these trends play out this year and look forward to seeing what else comes out of the changing nature of work. We’d love to hear about any other trends you see popping up this year. Let us know!
We do have a bonus trend – daily movement – that you can learn more about in our podcast episode, launching on Thursday. Check back here to learn more then!