After the unprecedented events of 2020 and with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic expected to continue throughout much of 2021, it is certainly a difficult time to be in business. Despite widespread economic uncertainty, however, new opportunities have also opened up for organizations across industries.
Many expect 2021 to be a year of rapid economic growth. Many of the trends that were already underway before the pandemic, such as digital nomadism and remote work, continue to accelerate. Now, we can expect many of these positive changes to become permanent as businesses adopt more adaptable processes.
Here are some of the top things we can expect in the business world over the next year:
1. Remote work will become the new normal
Remote work was already well-established before the onslaught of stay-at-home orders last spring. The pandemic has simply accelerated the adoption of more flexible work environments, which offer the potential of reduced costs, greater scalability, and a better work-life balance. Today, remote work has become a necessity for protecting public health, but it will remain the primary enabler of distributed workforces.
2. Businesses will invest more in e-learning
In many ways, the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of many established businesses and their lack of agility and flexibility. With consumer habits changing all the time, and many these expected to change permanently, there’s an increasing need to adopt a culture of continuous learning. Investing in e-learning initiatives will help businesses become more proactive and better prepared for future unknowns.
3. Automation will be even more important
Sage advice has often held that, if a task can be automated, then it should be. Automation is one of the key drivers of the fourth industrial revolution, and the development of new solutions powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning is continuing at breakneck speed. The rise of automation will continue to reduce the risk of human error, while freeing up resources and creating new opportunities.
4. Marketing will be more customer-centric
Traditional advertising has been declining for years now, and that’s a trend that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Consumers don’t want to be interrupted and spoken at; they want to be part of something relevant and meaningful. Thus, marketing has shifted toward a far more customer-centric model that prioritizes factors like customer success and brand authority. Recent events have also made even clearer the need for trust and empathy.
5. Regionalization will win over globalization
There is little doubt that today’s heavily interconnected and globalized business environment has greatly increased the world’s susceptibility to pandemics. On top of that, the threat of trade wars continues. Moreover, the approach of outsourcing work on the cheap to the other side of the world, with little regard for quality and working conditions, is being called into question. We can expect to see a shift toward regionalization, both to meet new customer demands and to build more sustainable and risk-tolerant supply chains.
6. Sustainability will become a primary goal
As the public wises up to the threat of climate change and the growing need for sustainability, customers are becoming more cautious about who they do business with. Moreover, new government regulations and global initiatives are putting more pressure on businesses to adopt sustainable development goals. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) will continue to grow in importance, especially when it comes to preserving brand reputation and aligning with the demands of the millennial generation.
Online Computers provides expert guidance and managed IT services to help organizations adapt during these unprecedented times. Call us today to find out more.
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