• Smart working & Place Benefits

Sustainable work: the trends of 2021

After a year like 2020, during which the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised many aspects of our life, including the world of work, it is reasonable to expect that those changes, in 2021, will begin to have positive implications, beginning with the forecasts for the year that began a few weeks ago.

An idea of what we can expect between now and 31 December is given to us by Wired Italia, which publishes Wired Trends every year, a project in collaboration with Ipsos, a multinational consulting and market research company. Among the topics given greater attention are those regarding sustainability and, in particular, how this issue can have a positive impact in the workplace.

The question of sustainability, we read in Wired Trends, is increasingly at the centre of the life of companies, and, consequently, of their employees. And if, on the one hand, the health emergency has forced the labour market to readjust (agile work, smart working, new professions), on the other hand, it is making it possible to focus even more on well-being, namely all those aspects that are connected to health and well-being, but not only from a medical point of view and with reference to psychological and growth needs both at work and in the personal sphere, for an overall improvement in lifestyle.

So, how will work change in 2021? What will happen to ensure that the term well-being is more fully reflected in our offices? According to Alessandro Rimassa of IlSole24Ore, this “will be the year of challenges, experiments, of putting oneself to the test”, with the common goal of “creating a new way of working that is truly smart, managing to combine the productive & the human”.

The journalist of the Milanese economic-financial newspaper outlined 5 factors that can contribute to an improvement in the conditions of well-being within an office, and thereby making them sustainable:

  1. The office as a hub of experiences

The workspaces, even if downsized due to a smaller number of people physically present due to the rules dictated by the health emergency, will be redesigned as places of creativity and innovation by UX design, which will also make offices real experiential places thanks to meetings and brainstorming.

2. Job design for well-being

Starting from the concept of the company as a community of people, people caring and well-being become fundamental in ensuring that the employee not only has the opportunity to be truly listened to within the company, but also to work on ad hoc projects that can lead to greater productivity.

3. Empathic leadership

In 2021, we will also talk about Empathic Leadership, namely the empathy of managers with their collaborators, understanding their needs, desires and potential with the ultimate goal of helping them to grow steadily.

4. Superteam

Working groups make it possible to be truly resilient. This is what emerged from Deloitte’s Human Capital Trend 2021 dossier, which explained how the creation of a “superteam”, that is to say, combining people and technology (artificial intelligence, for example), can allow work to be redesigned in more human ways, leaving the most operational and repetitive tasks to machines and thereby enhancing the skills and creativity of people.

5. Real smart working

2021 will be the year in which companies experience true smart working, no longer meaning just remote working or working from home, no longer measuring time, but rather measuring objectives, prioritising trust and transparency over command and control. The positive implications will, therefore, be expressed in more autonomy and responsibility for each employee of a company rather than mere managerial authoritarianism.

Another perspective proposed by the KMC Group is that companies should focus more on the well-being of their employees by immediately addressing the fear of returning to the workplace through initiatives that promote the physical, social and mental health of these employees. It will be crucial that companies involve employees in the collective construction of a workplace compliant with the guidelines dictated by the health emergency.

In essence, the 2021 reports on trends tend to emphasise, on the one hand, how the pandemic is a current and central issue. On the other hand, it is clear how the year that has just begun will provide an opportunity to all the forces in the field, from company executives to employees, to make the most of the various opportunities and solutions that will allow them to work in a healthier, more productive and consequently more sustainable environment, for the benefit of each business community.