A recent Gartner survey reveals 64% of managers believe that office workers are higher performers than remote workers and are likely to give in-office workers a higher raise than those who work from home. However, Gartner analysis of 2019 and 2020 data shows the opposite: Full-time remote workers are 5% more likely to be high performers than those who work full-time from the office.
If men are more likely to work from the office, and managers retain a bias toward in-office workers, we could see managers over-rewarding male employees at the expense of female employees.
Read more: Are You a Hybrid Workforce Champion or a Laggard?
No. 4: New regulations will limit employee monitoring.
During the pandemic, more than one out of four companies has purchased new technology, for the first time, to passively track and monitor their employees. However, many of these same companies haven’t determined how to balance employee privacy with the technology, and employees are frustrated.
Gartner research found that less than 50% of employees trust their organization with their data, and 44% don’t receive any information regarding the data collected about them. In 2021, new regulations will emerge at the state and local level that will start to put limits on what employers can track about their employees.
Read more: 6 Principles for Employee Privacy
No. 5: Flexibility will shift from location to time.
While enabling employees to work remotely became commonplace across 2020 (and will continue this year and beyond), the next wave of flexibility will be around when employees are expected to work. Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey revealed that only 36% of employees were high performers at organizations with a standard 40-hour work week.
Organizations that offer employees flexibility over when, where and how much they work, see 55% of their work force as high performers. In 2021, I expect to see a rise of new jobs where employees will be measured by their output, as opposed to an agreed-upon set of hours.
No. 6: Leading companies will make bulk purchases of the COVID-19 vaccine for employees — and will be sued over COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Employers that provide the COVID-19 vaccine to their workforce will leverage this action as a key differentiator to attract and retain talent. In tandem, with employers providing the vaccine, several companies will be sued for requiring their employees to have proof of vaccination before allowing them to return to the workplace. The corresponding litigation will slow return-to-workplace efforts even as vaccine usage increases.
No. 7: Mental health support will expand.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought well-being to the forefront as employers are more aware than ever of the impact of mental health on employees and, by association, the workplace. By late March, 68% of organizations had introduced at least one new wellness benefit to aid employees during the pandemic.
In 2021, employers will go even further by working to de-stigmatize mental health by expanding mental health benefits — such as shutting down the entire company for a day by offering “a collective mental health day” — to build awareness across the workforce about this critical issue.
No. 8: Employers will “rent” talent to fill the skills gap.
The number of skills that employers are looking for has risen dramatically — Gartner analysis shows that companies listed about 33% more skills on job ads in 2020 than they did in 2017. Organizations can’t reskill the capabilities of their existing workforce fast enough to meet their changing needs.
Some companies will hire and pay a premium for those skills when the need for new skills manifests. Other organizations will instead expand their use of contingent and contract hiring or expand their partnerships with organizations to “rent” employees for a short period of time to meet the skill needs that they are facing.
No. 9: Jurisdictions will compete to attract talent rather than trying to get companies to relocate.
In the U.S., states and cities have historically offered incentives to companies to get them to relocate to their jurisdiction. The new era of remote and hybrid work means that where an employee lives will be less tied to where their employer is located than ever before. This breaking of the direct tie between company location and employee location will lead states and cities to start using their tax policies to incentivize individuals to relocate to their jurisdiction rather than giving tax credits solely to large companies to relocate.
While 2020 was the most volatile year in modern history, as we move into 2021 and beyond, the rate of disruption will potentially accelerate as the implications from 2020 play out across the next several years.