It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year for many businesses, so what opportunities and trends might emerge in 2021?

Remote working has become the norm for many and workers have become skilled in using apps that were hitherto unheard of. As we emerge from the crisis, some of those apps will stay, but employers will take steps of avoid overloading workers with tech. It made sense to over-provide on tech at the beginning of the remote working revolution, but as things start to settle, a more streamlined and targeted approach to tech should alleviate the amount of time wasted, missed communications, and duplicated work. Using less tech better will maintain and improve efficiency.

This rapid uptake of technology, combined with increased confidence and understanding, will increase trust and therefore demand by users. This, in turn, will only speed up further technological developments, especially in the integration of AI, and user engagement.

The shift to remote working, with its positives and negatives, means that many workers will want to continue with a combined approach rather than a full-time return to an office. This suggests that an increasing number of companies will consider some form of permanent digital office to nurture their business culture while enabling employees to stay connected, giving them the best of both settings and the concomitant benefit to employee engagement. It may be that the Covid-19 crisis has simply sped up an inevitable shift.

The chancellor’s recent announcement that by 2025, climate-related financial disclosure will become mandatory highlights how companies will have to factor climate responsibility into their major decisions. Emerging guidelines on transparency and sustainability will require compliance which, in turn, will inform business operations and potential investments.

One thing remains case regardless of a global pandemic: the benefit of a highly skilled, diverse team is invaluable and companies investing in their employees’ skills and personal development will engender trust, loyalty and a company culture that reflects this.

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