Welcome to 2021: the year in which the world tries to reclaim its normalcy. Last year’s tribulations were unparalleled and made us rethink every aspect of our lives, including how we work. Some barricaded themselves within their homes, others donned whatever PPE was available, and we all hoped for an end to the pandemic. Though many of the changes to our professional lives were born of necessity, some have proven they will remain useful far into the future. In the face of an ever-looming threat, innovation continues to spring up. In this new year, these once novel ideas are the trends that guide our evolution to the next normal. Here are some things to look out for in 2021:

1. The Accelerated Integration of Technology in the Workplace

The pandemic has necessitated the accelerated integration of technology into many facilities’ safety protocols and workflows. As we move into 2021, technology will become an even more pervasive aspect of our everyday work lives. COVID conscious tech like visitor tracking platforms, digital mail, and virtual meetup platforms helped us adapt in a tumultuous and unpredictable time. As this year moves forward, you can expect not only to see a continuation of these trends but an expansion of these concepts. Visitor tracking platforms allow for both the tracking of guests and the ability to keep tabs on your facility’s occupancy level, ensuring the ability for those within to safely social distance. Your facility may adopt a policy where all white paper mail gets converted to digital formats and exclusively delivered electronically. These practices require little imagination, as most of these things are already happening in facilities across the country.

2. Accommodating a Hybrid Workforce

Most employees never thought they would see a day when their employer would not only allow them to work from home but encourage it. Though it was once a fever dream, working from home is now an accepted reality; it was not only an early way to combat the virus but has remained such. Yet, even as vaccines roll out, one of the pandemic’s lasting effects will be a more pervasive hybrid workforce. Many individuals have changed how they look at their health and security. As the world gets healthier, there may remain a large swathe of the population that does not feel comfortable returning to their physical workspaces full time. Studies have also shown that employees working from home during the pandemic have become much more proficient and effective at their jobs. With the pandemic’s strain on the global economy, employers need not be giddy to give up these newfound productivity levels.

3. Employee Safety

Last year, the most paramount concern for any business was ensuring the safety of its employees. Many companies tried their best to make decisions about safety and sanitization protocols with the limited information available at the time. Fast forward to 2021, and there is an ever-evolving mass of information to use in aiding the safe operation of each physical workspace. This year, companies will have to reduce occupancy levels in each room and their building(s) as a whole, create protocols to inform employees how to move through the workspace and upgrade their surface sanitization methods. Tools like occupancy monitoring, UV lights, and PPE will become further incorporated into our work lives; businesses will also need to remain nimble and utilize any new information about how to combat the virus’s spread as it becomes available.

Are you already using the tools of the new normal in your facility? Let us know in the comments below!