The year 2020 has moved companies to an online workforce at an unprecedented rate. Instead of in-person meetings, water cooler talk, and office discussions, businesses have shifted to video chats, instant messaging, and emails to communicate. We’ve hit a new era of conducting business.

Remote work is a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to a Gartner survey, 80% of employees plan to continue to work remotely when pandemic restrictions lift. Working from home allows employees the flexibility that an office environment doesn’t offer, but not without increased benefits. In fact, studies show that productivity has increased with remote work — 51% of respondents report being more productive due to their working from home schedule. When asked why, employees cited that there are fewer interruptions, no office politics, enhanced focused time, and a quieter environment. 

With this shift to digital taking over the workforce, there have undoubtedly been a number of trends that have made their way into the remote work stratosphere. As we move into 2021, here are the key business trends to keep up with as you continue the move to complete remote or hybrid work over the year.  

Connecting over LinkedIn

Employees see more value than ever before in connecting with their colleagues outside of work. With water cooler talk and lunchroom conversations officially dropped, employees need a way of connecting with each other and building workplace relationships without the in-person communication. What better way to do that than LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media platform that allows employees, staff members, and people of the workforce alike to connect and share information about their jobs and personal lives. It offers a Business Services section where you can recruit talent, unlock sales opportunities, post jobs, acquire customers, grow your business, and develop talent across your organization. 

Needless to say, LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither are we! 

Taking online courses

With more time spent at home to be productive during the workday, there’s an increased opportunity to learn new skills by taking online courses. More and more employees are taking this chance to brush up on their skills and further their careers. Over the pandemic, many courses, programs, and university classes offered significant discounts on their services to allow people to further their education. 

Some of our favorite online courses are: 

ALISON

ALISON offers free classes on languages, science, financial literacy, personal skills, entrepreneurship, and technology. 

Udemy

Head over to Udemy for free courses on businesses, marketing, health, lifestyle, and productivity. Udemy classes are taught by experts, entrepreneurs, professionals, and professors, and the courses have an impressive reputation in the industry.

LinkedIn Learning

Piggybacking on our point about how LinkedIn is around to stay, consider subscribing to LinkedIn Learning for classes on business, education, tech, design, and art. They offer a one-month free trial, so you can try their services before purchasing. 

Skillshare

Don’t have much time? Skillshare is the perfect option for you. In just 15-minutes a day, you can learn a new skill. Browse through classes in writing, tech, film, and more. 

Adobe

Design skills will almost always come in handy. Learn your way around InDesign and Photoshop with Adobe’s Creative Cloud tutorials. 

Academic Earth

Do you want to brush up on your academic knowledge? Check out Academic Earth! They have a wide variety of courses in science, humanities, computer science, and art. Oh, and they’re completely free. 

Embracing flexible scheduling

If there’s one thing employees are learning that they love, it’s flexible scheduling. With remote work, suddenly, many employees don’t have a hardwired nine to five schedule that they have to abide by anymore. Some companies have implemented a mandatory eight-hour day at the employee’s discretion, whereas other companies have offered even more flexibility. If there’s one thing we know for sure, employees have responded well to it. 

Despite flexible scheduling, productivity levels haven’t dropped, which is a good sign. After all, the traditional nine to five workday doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Some people respond better when they get an extra hour of sleep or after they’ve had their morning coffee. Flexible scheduling allows your employees to find a schedule that best works for them. 

Using multiple methods of communication

Not everything requires the same amount of urgency, which is where multiple communication methods come into play. Whereas some urgent matters require a phone call, other discussions can be easily handled in a quick email or an instant chat message over Slack or Teams. 

Remote work has inspired staff members to employ different communication methods to cater to different needs and levels of urgency. This is a trend that will continue into 2021. 

Holding video meetings 

This is about as close as a group of colleagues can connect, without actually connecting in-person. Connecting over video allows businesses to simulate in-person meetings without the hassle or risk of actually meeting in an office setting. It’s pandemic-friendly while allowing everyone to connect virtually from the comfort of their own home. 

Pair your video call with a tool like Stormboard to optimize your meeting, generate more ideas, and visually share and collaborate on content with your team. You can also prepare your meeting ahead of time using a built-in template, so your meetings are intentional, allowing your colleagues to get back to their remote work even quicker following your call. 

Conclusion 

Remote work is something that we can expect to see follow us well into the future, and for many, a fully remote or hybrid work model will become the new norm.