From holding employers accountable to their diversity commitments to returning to a more relaxed office, 2021 is shaping up to be a year unlike any other, thanks to the events of 2020.
At the end of each year, LinkedIn editors reach out to their community of Influencers, Top Voices, and frequent contributors to share the Big Ideas that they believe will define the year ahead. Read on for a selection of handpicked thoughts and speculations from LinkedIn editors on where they predict we’ll go from here — personally, professionally, and everywhere else in between.
The office is calling, and we must go
For those who transitioned to virtual workspaces this year, the idea of returning to the office stirs up mixed emotions. Will our schedules remain as flexible? Will we work five days a week? Will we be required to return to cities we have since left? “People miss people the most. There’s a credible value to real life in-person contact,” Liz Burow, the former WeWork vice president of workplace strategy, said. Burow believes offices will function as communal spaces where people gather for leadership, personal development, and culture.
9-to-5 will become a 3-2-2
Business leaders are being forced to envision how they will lead their teams in the post-pandemic workplace. According to Ashley Whillans, a professor at Harvard Business School, she predicts employers will adopt a hybrid office model where employees will be encouraged to split their time between working from home and at the office. “Employees will demand greater flexibility and organizations will require it,” Whillans said. “What this flexibility will look like will vary depending on the sector and geographic location. But, hopefully, if we do this right, gridlock morning commutes will be a thing of the past.”
Character will be key for leaders
The character of tomorrow’s leaders will be as important as their competencies. Psychologists have found that when our lives and jobs feel threatened, precarity and purpose become more meaningful and important to us. In 2021, employees will seek to feel more confident that their jobs are secure and will feel more compelled to contribute to a cause greater than themselves. According to LinkedIn, this will give servant leaders an edge in recruiting, motivating, and retaining talented people.
More women will take seats in the C-suite
There a gender shift happening in the C-suite. Even amid a particularly challenging year, especially for working mothers, women have been moving into the top executive ranks during the pandemic, according to LinkedIn data. This trend will continue in 2021 and beyond. “Sometimes, nothing happens for decades and sometimes decades happen in a week. We are in a place like that,” said Catalyst CEO Lorraine Hariton on the progress she is anticipating.
Read the full list of 2021’s 24 Big Ideas on LinkedIn here.